Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Top concerns for small businesses

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has revealed the key issues for small businesses over the past six months.

The Ombudsman Bruce Billson says two out of every five requests for help from a small business related to a payment dispute while almost one-quarter of cases involved digital platform providers.

Among the issues that required active case management, 15% related to contract disputes while 9% involved a franchise disagreement, according to the latest snapshot of assistance cases.

“It’s been a tough year for small and family businesses coping with cost-of-living pressures not just on themselves but their customers,” says Mr Billson.

“We can’t guarantee that every small business will succeed but it’s our mission to provide all the help we can for those who want to start, grow or transform a business, and that no business fails because the owners didn’t know about something that might have helped.

“When a small business finds itself in a dispute or having trouble it has tried to but can’t resolve, we are often able to help navigate a pathway to a solution.”

Mr Billson says many other disputes involving small business such as those about insurance, telecommunications, banking and finance, cyber security and workplace issues such as health and safety, were referred to other relevant dispute resolution agencies because the Ombudsman’s legislation prevents the office from duplicating the functions of other Commonwealth, state or territory agencies.

“We happily provide a type of triage service to receive the dispute and then assess whether we’re best equipped to help or whether the small business will be best served by sending their case, with their permission, to the most appropriate federal or state agency,” he says.

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