The new financial year is still in its infancy, and, while the transition from June to July is traditionally the signal to review the year that was, it’s also an ideal time to look forward to the year ahead. Once you’ve tallied up your expenses and earnings and submitted your tax return to the ATO (Australian Tax Office), it’s an opportune time to think about the current environment, economic trends and what they might mean for your small business. After all, forward planning might be what you need to overcome challenges and seize opportunities in the year ahead.
Navigating economic headwinds
Many of the early economic indicators point to some financial challenges in the months ahead. In May, interest rates rose for the first time in 11 years, with further rises now extremely likely. Many industries and businesses are still battling COVID-19 supply chain challenges, while a surge in cases is hurting a staffing crisis that, according to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), is the second worst in the developed world after Canada. Meanwhile, the energy watchdog has also flagged an impending increase to electricity bills for households and small businesses this year, after it approved a price rise.
However, it’s not all bad news. Encouragingly, Australian retail spending remains strong with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) saying turnover rose 0.9 per cent during April as customers spent up on food, travel and dining out over Easter. Unemployment also fell to three per cent, the lowest level in 50 years, while policymakers will convene in September for a jobs summit with the aim of tackling the currency skills shortages.
Businesses considering price rises
Amid ongoing cost pressures, the latest business confidence insights suggest a number of small businesses are facing the decision to increase their costs. The May 2022 monthly business conditions survey from the ABS found four in ten small businesses said they expect to increase the price of goods or services in the months ahead. For small businesses the main pressures they faced were the costs of products or services, fuel and energy and wage increases. The average pay rate for small business has grown by more than four per cent since the start of the year.
What can your small business do?
While the picture may sound bleak, if there’s one thing the last few years have taught us, it’s that Australian small businesses are resolute, innovative and dynamic. As business operating costs increase and consumers face a cost-of-living squeeze, now is an important time to build stronger relationships with your customer base. The start of the year is an opportunity to review your digital marketing efforts and consider what worked and what you could do better in the months ahead.
It might be time to consider whether a website would help your business attract more customers. Or whether your current website needs a refresh with new functionality like online payments, market integrations for Amazon, eBay and Etsy, or a whole website revamp to capitalise on the growing eCommerce trend in Australia. GoDaddy Websites + Marketing, for example, pairs an easy-to-use website builder with an ecommerce site with a suite of marketing tools designed to help small businesses reach new customers and fuel business growth.
It might also be time to explore social media or digital marketing to help give your small business a big boost. Channels like Facebook and Instagram are free to establish and there are plenty of short how-to guides from the platforms themselves, or online third-party marketing packages, to help you maximise your social channels.
And remember, working for yourself doesn’t mean working alone. Federal, state and local governments also have plenty of programs, grants, tips, advice and webinars to help you improve your small business grow and protect itself during the current climate.
What else should small businesses look out for?
The Federal Government’s Australian Cyber Security Centre has warned all businesses to increase their cyber security resilience this year. It suggests one priority for Australian businesses online should be to secure their local .au domain name before a cybercriminal or imposter does. Businesses with an existing Australian domain name like .com.au have priority to register for the new, shorter .au domain names before 4 October 2022 when the domain names are open to all.
Setting new year’s resolutions
While the new financial year isn’t without headwinds, it’s also a time to look at setting some goals and resolutions for your small business for the year ahead. Whether you want to be prepared with a fresh business budget, consider some new marketing ideas, or even unveil a new product or service, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to give your business the boost it deserves in the new year.
By Tamara Oppen, Managing Director at GoDaddy Australia