Small business still concerned

SMALL business confidence is high in WA, but there are still challenges facing WA’s 105,000 small businesses, according to the latest Small Business Opinion Survey.

The survey, conducted by the Institute of Small Business Research and sponsored by the Small Business Development Corporation, found the Y2K problem, training and the GST are major concerns.

SBDC managing director George Etrelezis said WA economic conditions were perceived to have stayed unchanged.

“In forecasting business conditions for the next six months, most small businesses are optimistic with a net 33 per cent expecting conditions to improve,” Mr Etrelezis said.

Mr Etrelezis said small business operators were concerned they would not have enough time to prepare for the transition to a GST.

Nearly half the respondents said they had an inadequate understanding of the GST and only seven per cent said they had a thorough knowledge of it.

Mr Etrelezis said many small business owners were concerned the new tax would give them more paperwork and red tape.

The survey found while 60 per cent of respondents gave their employees some form of training, it was clear too many small businesses were not giving training the attention it deserved.

Informal training such as mentoring was most common and only 43 per cent gave their staff formal training.

Three out of ten respondents said they provided no training for their employees. A third of these said training was unnecessary.

Other reasons for not training staff related to costs, claims that relevant training was unavailable and lack of time.

The survey also found 40 per cent of small businesses had done nothing to address Y2K and two-thirds of these believed it would not affect their business.

“Even if you don’t have a computer in your business, you have to take into account the possible effect of the millennium bug on suppliers and customers,” Mr Etrelezis said.

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