A new MYOB study of small to medium business operators working in the import-export segment reveals they enjoy better business than their peers despite reporting higher dissatisfaction with work-life balance and feeling more pressure from the SME segment’s most common business pain points.
More than half of the exporters and importers surveyed saw either increased or steady revenue in the 12 months to August, at 57% each. Revenue growth was reported by 24% of exporters and 20% of importers versus 18% of SMEs overall. The three segments reported similar revenue loss at 40%, 41% and 39%.
There was higher optimism among exporters and importers for short-term economic improvement with 33% and 31% respectively believing Australia’s economy will improve within 12 months, compared to 23% of SMEs.
However, revenue expectations were not as positive among exporters and importers with 30% and 31% respectively expecting a revenue fall in the 12 months to August 2014 versus 22% of SMEs overall.
MYOB General Manager - Enterprise Division, Andrew Birch commented that Australia's two-way trade in goods and services was worth more than $616 billion in 2012. With today’s digital economy intensifying the need for business owners to be more competitive in their offering, it’s important exporters and importers leverage opportunities to differentiate and broaden their scope.
Strengthening their market position and competitive advantage can be achieved through moves such as boosting expertise in a niche market, providing extra value to secure for margin increases, and lifting productivity through refreshed systems and processes. Even simple business management software and hardware upgrades can result in improved efficiencies, team engagement and cash flow, to create a platform for executing growth strategies.
Interestingly, exporters and importers were more dissatisfied with their work-life balance (32% each versus 23% of SMEs). However, they were more likely to be ‘very satisfied’ (17% and 16% versus 12%). Overall work-life balance satisfaction was 47% of exporters, 48% of importers and 50% of SMEs.
The MYOB Business Monitor found importers felt more pressure from fuel prices, cash flow and price margins and/or profitability – the top pressure points for the SME sector – than exporters and SMEs overall. Interestingly, exporters felt less pressure from prices margins and/or profitability compared to importers and SMEs overall.