SUNCORP Bank’s latest research shows more than two thirds of Gold Coast small to medium enterprises (SMEs) found 2011 harder to operate in than at the height of the global financial crisis.
The Doing Business in Queensland survey of more than 500 SMEs on the Gold and Sunshine coasts also shows business decision-makers believe the new year promises better trading conditions.
Suncorp Queensland executive general manager David Marshall describes 2011 as a ‘watershed year’.
“Despite both economic and weather challenges many businesses appear to have turned a corner and are taking into account this new era of austerity when planning for the future,” says Marshall.
In retrospect, TribecaHealth director Steve Trinder believes the 2011 financial year was the ‘worst time to start up’ his Surfers Paradise-based health products company.
“It has been very tough. Everyone’s cash poor and reluctant to spend money on new or non-essential things, because they are losing money left, right and centre,” says Trinder.
“Although it’s harder, we have made sales by offering a no-questions-asked money back guarantee. It gives customers peace of mind that they will not waste their money.”
Other SME concerns outlined in the survey include cash-flow, the high Australian dollar, declining tourism numbers, proposed mining and carbon taxes – and the Federal Government’s proposed 3 per cent increase to compulsory superannuation contributions.
Marshall is touring regional Queensland to meet with local business communities and hear their concerns and priorities for 2012, but the route does not include the Gold Coast – the SME capital of Australia.
Trinder warns skipping the ‘glitter strip’ is a big mistake.
“It is the fastest growing city in Australia and becoming a business hub. It’s a bit indifferent to not include the Gold Coast,” he says.
“Don’t just do a tour, ask questions and not do anything about it. Act on it and be different to the big banks – and be more in touch with small business consumers.”
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