Keeping calm and carrying on – that’s the current steady stance of small business owners despite the backdrop of rocketing Omicron cases, disruptive protests and ongoing uncertainty.
In The Alternative Board’s Summer Pulse Check, nearly two-thirds of business owners report their confidence is holding steady in the face of ongoing challenges.
For many, this confidence is lessened by government policy and economic conditions, although in contrast, a smaller number report that government policy and economic conditions improve their confidence.
Three-quarters of business owners report they are having to manage labour issues, including skills shortages, juggling staff absences or retention. The vaccination rollout has not had a huge impact on their workforces or businesses – a small number report staff losses but for the majority, it has been business as usual.
After last year’s lockdown stresses, when our Spring Pulse Check showed owners were at their lowest ebb since the start of the pandemic, the summer has seen business owners rally, finding ways to manage uncertainty and pandemic pressures. Chief among the stressors are rising input prices with lack of sales and supply chain issues not far behind.
To get through 2022, business owners are looking for more government or financial support however recent changes to lending conditions has not had an impact. Working capital and customer relationships are also holding steady and while the future isn’t bright, the current pulse is stronger than at the end of 2021.
The Alternative Board supports small to medium sized businesses and their owners through advisory boards consisting of other local business owners, expert one-on-one coaching, a suite of business planning tools and business mentoring.
The Pulse Check is run as a regular monitor of the sector. The Summer edition went to 3520 of our members and associates between 18 – 24 February. Results have a confidence level of 90% and a 5% margin of error.