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Business still cautious, says research

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Business still cautious, says research article image
The 2012 Sage Business Index has been announced, revealing business sentiment as the economic climate continues to project uncertainty. 503 businesses took part in the survey, which looked at areas of concern around economic issues, challenges faced and those perceived for the next year, and attitudes towards a variety of issues including business and information technology. Among the more startling figures in the report is that 21 percent of businesses believed they are performing worse in 2012, a rise of four percent from 2011. 45 percent of businesses believe the Australian economy is declining in 2012, up 15 percent from 2011. These figures have caused businesses to defer some crucial business decisions including marketing spending, website and online presence spending and opening new stores or offices. Only 25 percent of businesses said they'd make the internet a priority if more budget was available, a 9 percent drop from 2011. So what does this mean for exporters? With businesses losing confidence in online spending, exporters may not be reaching target markets. This is indicative in figures reflecting the greatest challenges that businesses have faced in the 12 months up to 2012, with 33 percent saying that gaining new customers or accessing new markets is still a great challenge. Though down from 2011's 35 percent, a third of businesses see this is as a considerable challenge. More importantly, only a small portion of the surveyed businesses said that looking into export markets was a key priority. Eight percent said that should budgets become more available that they'd consider export markets for investment, a drop from nine percent in 2011. There was some positive news coming out of the Index however. 53 percent of businesses said that they'd invest in mobile technology/devices if more technology budgets become available. Of women interviewed for the survey, 39 percent said they felt more confident than they did at the same time last year, which is an increase of 13 percent since 2011. Women are also far more active online, with 64 percent seeing cloud computing as having some benefit for their business, and 49 percent have a business Facebook page - nearly twice as many as all businesses who took part in the survey.

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