2014 has been another rollercoaster ride of a year for Australian SMEs. Businesses are battling an economy that is still transitioning from being mining led and a government which has largely failed to implement its economic agenda.
Many businesses are doing it tough with a large number of high profile collapses but on the other hand the hard work of many SME owners has paid off with SmartCompany reporting on Aussie businesses expanding both nationally and internationally and securing successful initial public offerings.
Here are the highs, the lows and the plain old bizarre of the year that was in small business:
- This year we celebrated Australia’s fastest growing SMEs in SmartCompany’s annual Smart50 awards with Pet Circle taking out the top billing.
- We also highlighted Australia’s top female entrepreneurs on International Womens Day and identified the next generation of superstars with our Hot 30 under 30 list.
- There were so many inspiring entrepreneurs who shared their stories that it’s hard to single any out but profiled many inspiring entrepreneurs including Jacky Magid from Charlie’s Cookies, Sarah Wilson and her I Quit Sugar empire and Michael O’Keefe who has taken cosmetics company Aesop global.
- Small business minister Bruce Billson got some wins on the board for small business with his red tape repeal agenda and campaign to extend unfair contract protection to small business.
- 2014 was also the year that many SME owners started talking about their mental health. It takes bravery to share a story of failure but it’s just as important as stories of resilience in letting small business people know they are not alone.
- The collapse of many well established and high profile businesses including furniture chain Whitehorse Furniture and Bedding and more recently the administration of the Pie Face chain of stores sent shock waves through the small business community.
- While the government promised to cut red tape small businesses were hit by its decision to force small businesses to pay back tax breaks after the abolition of the mining tax.
- A string of small businesses had to combat online abuse for stocking halal products.
- The decision by tech company Atlassian to relocate its headquarters from Australia to the United Kingdom caused much soul searching as to what could be done to encourage successful SMEs to stay in Australia.
- There was no shortage of strange PR stunts this year, from restaurant chain Nando’s “stealing” Queensland’s big mango to an Aussie games company getting the bomb squad called in with its ill conceived attempt to attract attention.
- Businesses also hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons including for an ill fated Christmas party potato sack race and a brawl at Bunnings that ended in an unfair dismissal claim.
I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store!