New report reveals challenges facing small business sector

04/09/2019

The Australian small business sector is facing a major shake-up over the coming decade, with the highest proportion of small business owners now aged between 45 and 59 years.

This is according to the Small Business Counts report released at the COSBOA National Small Business Summit recently, by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell, which revealed 61 per cent of employing small business owners are approaching retirement age.

“The small business landscape will be transformed over the coming years with a significant number of older small business owners expected to retire, sell or move on. This generational shift presents a number of challenges for the sector and the economy more broadly. We know access to funding continues to be a barrier to small business operators, so some of the business owners looking to sell may find it difficult to attract a buyer,” Ms Carnell said.

“These figures show that there is a need for meticulous succession planning by those small business operators who are planning to retire in the coming years. The report reveals other challenges being faced in the sector, with more than half of small business owners reporting a taxable income of less than the minimum wage.”

“Late payments continue to hamper small business viability, with half of all small businesses reporting late payments on 40 per cent of their invoices. These are just some of the issues captured in the Small Business Counts report,” she said.

The statistics, collected from various Australian government agencies, helps us gain a greater understanding of the small business sector, which is vital to the work we do, Ms Carnell said in regards to the report.

“We know that small business is the most dynamic and fastest growing sector and yet it is often overlooked by all levels of government when setting the policy agenda.”

Overall, the Small Business Counts report shows the small business sector is surprisingly large and vibrant, which is vital to the health of the Australian economy, Ms Carnell concluded.