28 September 2011,


MOST small to medium enterprise (SME) owners are in a better financial position than 12 months ago and retaining good workers is not a problem, a new national survey has found.

Despite some economists forecasting challenging economic times ahead, a Bank of Queensland (BOQ) Straight Talk Survey shows more than 76 per cent of SMEs are better off than one year ago and 88 per cent are confident their small business culture will drive more employee loyalty than large companies.

BOQ acting CEO Ram Kangatharan says staff retention will help SMEs recover after the global financial crisis.

“Difficult economic environment and uncertainty borne out of problems overseas are likely to see employees bunkering down rather than looking for new jobs,” he says.

“SMEs will be in a stronger position in the war on talent as economic conditions normalise.”

Sass Design founder Danielle Butler says her Varsity Lakes-based graphic design company secured new clients during the past 12 months.

“A lot of clients came to us saying they were with a larger design company before, but couldn’t see the value in paying such high prices. We don’t have big overheads, can keep our costs down and (still) produce good work,” she says.

“In FY12 we are aiming for $350,000 in revenue. I’ve grown my client base to include the Cancer Council Australia, International Numismatics collectables dealer, Aqi Care and Scooter Hut.”

The BOQ study found that 77 per cent of SMEs believe flexible working conditions are critical to retaining staff.

“Working arrangements that offer flexibility around working hours, patterns of work and location may appeal to staff, especially those caring for children,” says Kangatharan.

Butler plans to increase her staff numbers within the next one to three years.

“We really like being based in Varsity Lakes, a lot of businesses are based here. We used to be based in Mudgeeraba but now clients say we’re easier to find (in Varsity Lakes). It’s more modern and gives a more professional look for our business,” she says.






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