Once again I attended the National Small Business Summit, held in Sydney last week.
The general mood was sombre. Retail is clearly doing it tough, which flows through to other industries. This is due to a variety of factors such as:
- The high Australian Dollar
- International uncertainty
- A weak Australian Government
- Large increases in government controlled and influenced charges (Electricity prices have increased by 16% in a year.)
- Unlike our government, consumers are preferring to pay off debt and increase savings rather than spend on non-essentials
- Natural disasters (regionally)
All this results in squeezed margins, wide scale discounting and, unsurprisingly a big dip in small business confidence.
Here are some of what some of the speakers said at the conference.