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New survey puts the spotlight firmly on SMEs

Small businesses say things are looking up and expect to lift investment and hire more staff in the coming year, according to the new Business Micro Scope report.

Small businesses say things are looking up and expect to lift investment and hire more staff in the coming year, according to the new Business Micro Scope report.

ANZ’s Business Micro Scope survey is a new quarterly indicator for small businesses across New Zealand. It surveys 250 firms, comprising micro (up to four staff) and small businesses (up to 20 staff). The sample is taken from the existing National Bank Business Outlook Survey, which covers micro up to large businesses.

The first survey, for the quarter to March 31, found small firms are positive about the outlook, though business confidence remains fragile. A net 28 percent of small firms are optimistic about New Zealand’s economic prospects over the next year, up 9 points on last quarter. A net 30 percent are optimistic about the prospects for their own business.

Investment intentions remain strong, with a net 11 per cent of small firms expecting to increase investment – the fourth consecutive quarter that small firms have posted a double-digit figure. A net balance of 5 percent of firms expect to increase staff.

Low sales turnover was flagged as the biggest challenge in the current economy.

ScoopNZ on TwitterScoop On FacebookLocalistLocalistANZ’s managing director, business banking, Fred Ohlsson, said: “It’s encouraging to hear small businesses telling us they are upbeat about profitability, and expect to invest and take on more staff. This reflects a broader confidence about their prospects. Though tempered with concerns about turnover, this cautious optimism bodes well for the wider economy.

He said SMEs with one to 20 staff were the "lifeblood of our economy".

"Yet until now there has been little research focused on how they are faring."