Store Temporarily Closed sign on the store's glass wall due to coronavirus pandemic.
Store Temporarily Closed sign on the store's glass wall due to coronavirus pandemic.

13% of businesses can't last a month

MORE than 13 per cent of Northern NSW businesses are not confident about surviving more than a month, according to a national online survey.

The findings were reported in the Australian Business Economic Impact Survey (ABEIS), released by Remplan, which measures the impact and resilience of businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The principal economist at Remplan, Matthew Nichol, said the results include the Byron Bay, Lismore, Kyogle, Richmond Valley, Clarence Valley and Tweed areas.

One of the most striking results of the survey is the level of confidence in the future among business owners.

"You don't need to be an economist to know that the longer the crisis goes for, the more the businesses will be stretched to the limit," he said.

"We asked businesses how confident they were about being viable looking ahead.

"In Northern NSW, when we asked them how confident they were of staying viable within one month, 27 per cent said very confident, and 13.5 per cent were not confident at all.

"When we asked if current circumstances extended for 12 months, northern NSW businesses that would be confident they would still be here fell to 7.9 per cent, and 36.8 per cent were not at all confident to be viable."

Change is the key to surviving this crisis, but a third of business owners in northern NSW who answered the survey had a grim look a the prospect of business change.

"Asked how easy was to adapt to changes, 13 per cent said it was really easy and was already doing it, 23 per cent said it was possible for parts of there business, but at the end of that spectrum, about 18 per cent said it was completely impossible to adapt," Mr Nichol said.

"36 per cent said it would be either impossible or very difficult to change, but if you think of accommodation businesses, if visitors are not coming, they may be quite limited on what they can do."

In terms of operational priorities, 22.5 per cent of northern NSW business owners said the main thing was to keep themselves and their staff on the job.

"The next largest category was adopting new systems and practices to ensure they can continue operating; it's technology, business models - so this crisis has been a huge catalyst for change," Mr Nichol said.

The economist said the survey will be ongoing, with results reported periodically, and he called northern NSW business to continue being part of the online questionnaire.

"51.6 per cent of respondents are owners of businesses that have been operating for ten or more years, and a further 28.2 per cent had been operating for five to ten years," he said.

The survey is available at https://surveys.remplan.com.au/s3/REMPLAN-COVID-19-ABEIS.