Westpac predicts small business growth on the horizon

small business growth

Financial insecurity fear has led to 33 per cent of small business owners in Australia taking up a second job or “side hustle” to help support household expenses, according to new research from Westpac.

Though the Westpac report reveals growth is on the horizon and small businesses could be the ones to profit. It says a stable political climate, paired with an improving economy, means that the future is looking bright.

Ganesh Chandrasekkar, General Manager of SME (small and medium enterprise) Banking at Westpac, says, “Given recent [Reserve Bank Australia] interest rate cuts, a boost in infrastructure spending, and a better-looking housing market, many small businesses say they are optimistic about the coming 12 months.”

While the overall situation is rapidly improving, financial barriers such as penalty rates and flexibility are impacting small business owner’s ability to hire new staff. The report shows that two thirds of small businesses want to hire extra help but can’t due to state-based policies.

“One way to boost confidence back into the market is to remove the complexities and challenges small businesses face when it comes to hiring,” Ganesh says.

Creative, on-demand solutions are now becoming more popular to help tackle the flexibility issue. The report says the “gig economy” – apps designed to supply and seek casual work – has grown 68 per cent over the last year in New South Wales and will provide massive benefits to small businesses going forward.

These innovative solutions are helping to shape the future, but more traditional methods to assist cash-strapped small businesses still do exist, and according to Ganesh,are being underutilised.

“At Westpac, we approve 93 per cent of lending requests received,” he says. “Despite this, two in three businesses owners do not request funding, leaving many small businesses cash strapped.”

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