Half of SMEs will focus on growth in 2023 – survey

This despite a potential recession

Half of SMEs will focus on growth in 2023 – survey


By Mina Martin

Nearly half of Australian small-to-medium businesses are looking to expand this year – this despite the risk of recession.

This was according to an independent survey commissioned by business loan comparison site Small Business Loans Australia, which polled 210 business owners and senior decision-makers across the full SME spectrum: micro (1-10 employees), small (11-50 employees) and medium-sized (51-200 employees), as well as a small percentage of large SMEs (more than 200 employees). 

When asked if they had focussed on growing their businesses in the last four years, 48% said they were focussing on growing this year. That’s significantly higher than the proportion of respondents who focussed on growth in 2022 (22%), in 2020 (20%), and in 2021 (17%). Eighteen per cent of businesses said they focussed on growth in 2019, prior to the pandemic.

Analysis of responses across the states and territories revealed that businesses in Western Australia experienced the highest growth, with 88% of businesses having focussed on growth at some point since 2019. This was followed closely by 86% of businesses in NSW.

From 2019-2020, West Australian businesses demonstrated the most significant growth, selected by 36% of SMEs in 2019 and 28% in 2020.

In 2021, Victorian businesses prioritised growth than those in any other state, chosen by 22%, whilst South Australian businesses came out on top in 2022, chosen by 26%.

This year, it’s businesses in the ACT that were most confident about growth, with 60% of businesses saying they will use this year to focus on growth, despite a potential recession.

 Some 52% of businesses in Queensland and 51% in NSW said they will focus on growth this year. At 50%, micro businesses were expected to be the most positive about growth in 2023, compared with 48% of medium-sized businesses and 37% of small businesses.  

“It is promising to see that almost half of the country's SMEs consider 2023 as a period of growth for their business,” said Alon Rajik, founder and managing director of Small Business Loans Australia.

“Our research indicates that regardless of a potential economic slowdown, SMEs will continue to be resilient against hardship and confident in their ability to weather tough economic periods, after they have survived a series of unprecedented global and economic disruptions.   

“The challenges of the last three years, while putting a strain on so many businesses, motivated many to change the way they operated and to innovate, which steered many toward online trading and away from traditional shopfront selling. 

“With the risks of a recession, however, businesses are best to make smart financial choices when expanding. When seeking financing to facilitate growth, it’s a good idea to shop around to secure low interest rates and fees.”

 Visit the Small Business Loans Australia website for the full survey results, including breakdowns across business sizes and states.

Have a thought about the survey findings? Include it in the comments below. 

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!