SME confidence levels are highest ever recorded, reports Westpac Small Business Index.

Optimism of SMEs at highest recorded levels

Confidence levels of small business owners are at an all-time high, says the latest Westpac Small Business Index.

After the announcement of the federal budget in May this year, there was a drop in optimism, however these levels are now back up and are the highest the Westpac-Melbourne Institute has ever recorded.

The index measures the confidence, current performance and future plans of SMEs.

It reports that positivity in the sector has increased to 129.9, up 20 per cent from 108.2 points in May, just before the federal budget was announced. 

"I am delighted to see a significant increase in the Small Business Index this quarter. The lift is attributed to post-budget confidence," says Westpac's General Manager of Small Business, Julie Rynski.

Westpac also found that 33.2 per cent of companies are predicting that their sales will increase over the next three months. 

The rise indicates a surge in their present operations and expectations of upcoming sales performance. The results of this research are encouraging, given the employment implications of increased business activity.

However, not all aspects of their business are contributing to increased optimism. 

The research also breaks down what is contributing to the positivity of SMEs and what is holding them back.

So what is the key aspect of this increased positivity? 

Customers are driving of this confidence boost (47 per cent), followed by employees (19.2 per cent), with finance lagging behind (16.2 per cent).

As indicated by the study, the public is appreciative of small businesses and more SMEs are taking advantage of innovative business development opportunities to maintain that support. 

"The customer is at the heart of business, which is reflected in the index this quarter," notes Rynski.

Dealing with finances is not ranked high in contributing to confidence, which could be due to stress or confusion.

Getting in touch with a professional who can give you the right financial advice for your business to grow may be the key to even higher confidence levels. 

The rejuvenation of the small business sector is encouraging, as the success of the sector plays a significant role in the Australian economy and is a key contributor to employment levels.