Inbox: Private businesses planning growth

Ninety percent of privately owned businesses are expecting positive growth in the next year, according to the 2011 ANZ Privately-Owned Business Barometer report, but the survey also shows the resilience of firms is still being challenged.
ANZ managing director, commercial & agri, Graham Turley says stiff competition for households’ disposable dollar remains concern for businesses all along the supply chain. “As result, engaging customers, managing costs and actively managing debtors and cash flow will continue to dominate the business environment,” Turley says.
However, the ANZ Privately-Owned Business Barometer shows that for the most part, business owners are optimistic – 90 percent are expecting positive growth in the next year, while 85 percent expect growth of five percent or more in the next three years. However, the recovery is not impacting evenly across the sector with around one in 10 businesses anticipating negative growth in the next 12 months.
The barometer also flags an emerging skills shortage. This was identified as the second biggest issue facing business owners, after competition, with 37 percent indicating availability of people and skills as being main concern (up from 34 percent in 2010).
The strain of having to battle through prolonged downturn is also showing: about half of all business owners want to spend less time in their business and 22 percent say balancing family and business is an issue (up from 10 percent in 2010).
There is also growing recognition of the increasingly global environment businesses are operating in: 34 percent are operating internationally and another 12 percent aspire to expand offshore. About 29 percent have sales to China and 60 percent of them expect this to increase in the next three years.
“It’s important when considering international expansion to talk to business owners who have been there before; consider collaborating with some of your competitors, and ensure you are well-capitalised,” Turley says.
The ANZ Privately-Owned Business Barometer is New Zealand’s most in-depth study of privately owned businesses with an annual turnover of between $2 million and $150 million. It was carried out in February and March this year, targeting around 3000 business owners, and had response rate of 30 percent.
The full ANZ-Privately Owned Business Barometer Key Insights report is available on anzbarometer.co.nz. M

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