The Turnbull Government set the internet alight yesterday with its $1.1 billion promise to boost innovation and lure Aussie entrepreneurs home from Silicon Valley, and it seems small businesses are getting in on the love-in.
The latest results from the MYOB Business Monitor survey reveal an upswing of support for the government, with many prominent Aussie small business CEOs predicting 2016 will be a positive one for small business.
Dissatisfaction with the Federal Government fell from 33 percent in March to 26 percent in October -- the lowest level of dissatisfaction recorded in the MYOB Business Monitor which surveys 1000 small business owners and is in its sixth year.
“This is more good news for the Turnbull Government, which is currently riding high in the polls,” MYOB Chief Strategy Officer John Moss said.
Dissatisfaction levels were low across all states although Queensland still rated much higher at 41 percent than NSW at 20 percent.
Businesses also ranked the policies they would vote for, with the Government’s $20,000 instant asset tax write-off for businesses under $2m revenue from the last Federal Budget in top spot even though only one third of businesses had used the measure.
Other popular policies included significantly simplifying the GST/BAS reporting process (62 percent); reducing the company tax rate from 30 percent to 28.5 percent (58 percent); assigning a proportion of government procurement contracts to small businesses (57 percent); increased Federal Government funding for skills, training and apprenticeship programs (57 percent) and an incentive bonus for businesses employing people over age 50 (56 percent).
Many small business owners said there would be no effect on the cost of business because of the weak Australian dollar (54 percent), share market volatility (63 percent) and the free trade agreements with Japan, China and Korea (59 percent).
Moss said these stats indicated many small businesses were not yet confident about how they could capitalise on free trade agreements.
“We know the Federal Government is working hard to promote the benefits and opportunities the FTAs will unlock, particularly for SMEs, but this finding shows there’s still some work to do,” he said.
Several high profile Aussie CEOs have chimed in with the debate and here they provide their outlook on the coming year for Australian small business.
Levi Aron, country manager of Deliveroo
“2016 will be an interesting year as innovation and investment are finally starting to align which will help cultivate a hotbed of opportunity in Australia. Additionally it will be a year full of surprises and consolidation of markets, after all there can only be one winner in certain categories -- second and third won’t get a mention!”
Deliveroo's Levi Aron says the new year will usher in a new era of innovation.
Kate Morris, chief executive and co-founder of AdoreBeauty
"I predict that 2016 will be a crunch year for Australia’s retailers to become globally competitive, or risk obsolescence. Customers have ever-increasing expectations around service and convenience, and are increasingly intolerant of substandard experiences. Adore Beauty grew by about 70 percent in 2015 but we’re not resting on our laurels. We’re continuing to push through improvements to our customer experience, particularly in the areas of personalised recommendations and live chat."
Sarah Hamilton, chief executive of bellabox
“I'm all about China and Indonesia and exporting bellabox to these markets and we are on a winner with Malcolm Turnbull and creating an innovation economy in Australia. Can I add a wish -- a stronger AUD.”
Christian Mischler, co-founder of HotelQuickly
“HotelQuickly is growing very quickly (a few hundred percent year on year). I don’t think we’ll slow down anytime soon, as we’re still at the beginning of our journey really. Due to the weak Aussie Dollar we probably will see more domestic bookings rather than overseas bookings, but due to the last-minute nature of our business this makes up most of our bookings anyways.”
Martin Hosking, founder of Redbubble
“I think the choppiness is still set to continue. Companies are generally trading with relatively low expectations of growth and this is probably pretty accurate in most cases. The Aussie dollar will fall further and companies with solid international earnings will benefit. I see no specific reason for either a dramatic fall in the markets or economies or dramatic rise. Europe is starting its long climb out of recession and that will help things. China will clearly continue to be a drag on the global economy.”
Shira Raber, managing director of Helpling
“We predict strong continued growth and ongoing product improvements. 2015 was very much a year of in-depth learnings on how to best serve both customers and cleaners on our platform. 2016 will be the year of implementing these learnings via some fantastic product improvements.”
Shira Raber is confident her home-help startup Helpling will grow in 2016.
Mike Rosenbaum, CEO & Co-founder of Spacer
“2016 is going to be a HUGE year for the sharing economy, with more and more Australians experiencing the power and benefits of tapping into under utilised assets all around us. At Spacer.com.au it’s going to be a year of rapid growth as we roll out nationally across Australia to help people make additional income renting their spare space, and connect them with people who need space save money accessing storage in their local neighbourhood.”
Chris Strode, Founder of Invoice2go
“Business will take on an even more fragmented form as more and more people break out on their own to freelance, take on side work, or turn their hobby into a business. Already, there's 3.7 million Australians undertaking freelance work, and we expect this number to expand as people place greater value on work life balance, flexibility, and the ability to take complete control over their lives and careers.”
Dean Ramler, CEO & Co-founder of Milan Direct
“In 2016 I expect to see greater consolidation in the retail space, especially with online players. The industry right now is too fragmented, and in order to compete with the more established bricks and mortar retailers, consolidation is necessary. As a leading online furniture retailer, at Milan Direct we are excited about this challenge, and look forward to being able to compete head on with traditional companies such as Freedom Furniture, Fantastic Furniture and Domayne.”
James Crawford, Founder of Beanhunter
“For Beanhunter we are really focussing on growing our members and explore new avenues to add value for our members and business owners. We plan to continue finding and sharing great coffee all over the world and establish our brand as the go-to source for all things coffee and cafe related.”