The Autumn Pulse Check is out – and it looks like business owners are getting tired and their motivation is starting to erode.
The COVID aftershocks – shipping delays, higher prices, employment issues and other disruptions – seem to be fraying the high levels of confidence reported in the summer and the deepening issues are nudging small businesses back towards operational urgency.
Confidence is still high and flexibility and innovation continue to underpin progress. Business owners have invested in technology, employed more people and increased wages but for some, the motivation to continue is getting harder to find as they juggle the many demands they face.
The Pulse Check shows the top stressors – escalating input costs, lack of sales, port and supply problems – are adding to their woes. Problems with working capital are starting to emerge with late payers and other difficulties in evidence.
We’ve seen a definite shift in the number of small businesses experiencing difficulty with their working capital and expressing growing concern that sales volumes won’t last – looking and planning ahead is as challenging as it was last year.
The New Zealand-Australia travel bubble has had no reported impact on business as yet – for better or worse. Government policy, mainstream media and a slow vaccine rollout are reducing confidence levels for some while the availability of vaccines, easing of border restrictions and government policy increase confidence for others.
The Alternative Board conducted the Autumn Pulse Check with 271 members and associates between April 30 – May 7 2021 with a confidence level of 90% and a 5% margin of error.