How's Business?

How's Business? This is the most common question I get asked by friends, family and colleagues?

So how do you answer?

Do you remain positive and smile?

Or do you open up and pour your heart out about how tough business conditions are?

Or do you pass off the question with a pleasantry?

Well how about answering with some facts! That will blow away your competitors and embed you in the mind of your prospects.

So what are the facts on business at the moment? Well, do some research for your country, geographical area or industry niche.

For those in Australia here are the facts according to the latest survey:

Record slump in Australian business confidence

Australia has experienced a record fall in business confidence during the quarter, surpassing the declines experienced during the height of the Global Financial Crisis, according to the Sensis® Business Index released today.

The quarterly survey began in 1993 and provides the latest snapshot of small and medium enterprise (up to 199 employees) business activity in Australia. It is based on a sample size of approximately 1,800 from metropolitan and regional areas, interviewed between 6 May and 3 June 2010.

Report author Ms Christena Singh said business confidence had plummeted on the back of soft demand, low profitability and weakening economic conditions.

“The substantial fall in business confidence this quarter has negated the healthy results we had been seeing during the last half of 2009.

“We now have more businesses worried about their prospects than we had this time last year.

“Nevertheless, business confidence, overall, remains much stronger than the record low level seen in March 2009,” Ms Singh explained.

The report shows businesses are also expecting trading and economic conditions to deteriorate further during the next 12 months.

Sales fell strongly during the quarter and the indicator is now trending near the low levels experienced 12 months ago.

“Businesses are not expecting demand to improve in either the coming quarter or in the year ahead,” she said.

Profitability also declined sharply, although remains stronger than it was 12 months ago.

Employment by small businesses did improve during the quarter, but from last quarter’s low level. “We are still seeing a landscape where more businesses are shedding staff than hiring, and lack of work remains the key barrier to employment.”

To add to business’ woes, Ms Singh said there had been a further tightening in the availability of credit during the quarter.

Business support for the government also fell strongly during the quarter, taking it to the lowest level since August 2008.

Key reasons for disapproval include perceptions the government does not provide incentives for small businesses, that taxation is too high, and there is too much bureaucracy and government interference.

Want help getting out of a slump? Consider our 3-month small business mentor package. Visit our website for contact details.

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