Statistics consistently show that it’s an uphill battle for small businesses to survive. However the love of a hobby is the key to survival for some niche businesses.
The most recent research from the Australian government’s Department of Industry reveals that in the four years from June 2007 to June 2011, small businesses had a survival rate of approximately 60 per cent.
Those with less than 19 employees had a 59.7 per cent chance of survival. Medium to large businesses had a much higher survival rate, numbering 75.8 per cent and 74.3 per cent respectively.
Small business survival is not only based on customer flow – for retailers, celebration and holiday periods are crucial trading periods.
Such is the case for party shop owner, Thu Lieu, of The Big Party in the Sydney South-West suburb of Cabramatta, who says the key to her survival is making the most of celebrations.
The Big Party is a local business providing and selling party supplies and services. Established in 2006, the shop specialises in “everything imaginable with balloons”.
Flexibility is a large advantage when it comes to being a small business owner. “I can manage my time, I can go home, pick up my kids. If they’re sick, I can quickly close shop for a little while, it’s great, I have my own hours,” Lieu says.
Business and customer growth has been increasing with every year and vital growth is based on key celebrations.
With Valentine’s Day the next social holiday, business at The Big Party is booming. In the lead-up to the 14th, Thu is occupied with wrapping chocolate bouquets and ordering fresh roses.
For Lieu, the key to small business survival is doing what your enjoy and keeping your customers coming back. The Big Party has its ‘repeat’ customers and Lieu tries to ensure they walk through the door next year for the following birthday.