Stress hurts small busi­ness

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

Fi­nan­cial stress is spilling over into Pil­bara small busi­ness own­ers’ fam­ily lives and hav­ing a detri­men­tal ef­fect on men­tal and phys­i­cal well­be­ing, a new re­port has found.

Fig­ures from the Bankwest Curtin Eco­nomic Cen­tre’s Small Busi­ness Sur­vey re­vealed al­most 20 per cent of Pil­bara small busi­ness own­ers had very high lev­els of stress — the sec­ond high­est rate in WA be­hind the Wheat­belt.

Of those who re­ported high stress lev­els, 73 per cent in­di­cated their men­tal and phys­i­cal well­be­ing had been af­fected, which was the high­est rate in WA.

Forty-five per cent of re­spon­dents re­vealed stress was re­sult­ing in con­flicts with busi­ness part­ners and 40 per cent said work­place stress was caus­ing fam­ily con­flict and re­la­tion­ship prob­lems.

RSM Kar­ratha branch se­nior man­ager Glynn Judd said late pay­ment af­fected small busi­nesses’ abil­ity to fund on­go­ing op­er­a­tions and growth op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“En­gage your ad­vis­ers and fi­nanciers early in or­der to re­view your op­er­a­tions and im­ple­ment strate­gies to man­age the busi­ness through dif­fi­cult pe­ri­ods,” he said.

“If projects such as Balla Balla and Flin­ders Mines’ Pil­bara iron ore project utilise lo­cal, as op­posed to FIFO, work­forces th­ese projects have the po­ten­tial in­crease op­por­tu­ni­ties for small to medium busi­nesses through­out the Pil­bara.”

Pil­bara Com­mu­nity Le­gal Ser­vice re­stricted so­lic­i­tor Kis­matul Muza­hid said small busi­nesses set up by part­ners or hus­band-and­wife re­la­tion­ships were par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble to fi­nan­cial stress.

“Should cou­ples de­cide to sep­a­rate or di­vorce, it fur­ther com­pli­cates any at­tempts at prop­erty set­tle­ments or fam­ily law pro­ceed­ings as of­ten their fi­nan­cial si­t­u­a­tions will be in­ter­twined, adding enor­mously to stresses dur­ing a dif­fi­cult time,” he said. “Any changes to fees or pro­cesses charged, with the goal of re­duc­ing fi­nan­cial stress, will have sig­nif­i­cant im­pact in re­liev­ing pres­sure on re­la­tion­ships, and may make the sep­a­ra­tion process much eas­ier for cou­ples who have a busi­ness to­gether.”

BCEC se­nior re­search fel­low Daniel Kiely said late pay­ments were cre­at­ing un­nec­es­sary hard­ship and stress for small busi­ness own­ers, and should be erad­i­cated.

“Our sur­vey find­ings also high­light the sig­nif­i­cant pres­sure small busi­ness own­ers are un­der, with over 60 per cent re­port­ing high to very high lev­els of stress,” he said.

“Busi­ness-re­lated stress can have a detri­men­tal im­pact on re­la­tion­ships and in­di­vid­ual well­be­ing. It’s im­por­tant that small busi­ness own­ers have ac­cess to ad­e­quate sup­port and that ex­ter­nal driv­ers of busi­ness-re­lated stress are min­imised.”

BCEC di­rec­tor Alan Dun­can said late pay­ment from larger busi­nesses for prod­ucts and ser­vices was a sig­nif­i­cant bar­rier to cash­flow, one of the key fac­tors in in­creased fi­nan­cial stress.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Al­most 20 per cent of Pil­bara small busi­ness own­ers have very high lev­els of stress.

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