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Ninety percent of privately owned businesses are expecting positive growth in the next year, according to the 2011 ANZ Privately Owned Business Barometer.

ANZ Managing Director, Commercial & Agri, Graham Turley said the results were encouraging, and New Zealand business owners were demonstrating their resilience through the recession and the Christchurch earthquakes.

“As the ANZ Barometer shows, stiff competition for households’ disposable dollar remains a concern for businesses all along the supply chain. As a result, managing costs, actively engaging customers and actively managing debtors and cash flow will continue to dominate the business environment. We expect the Canterbury rebuild and influx of international visitors for Rugby World Cup 2011 will also give businesses a boost,” Turley said.

“For the most part, business owners are optimistic – 90% of business owners are expecting positive growth in the next year, while 85% expect growth of 5% or more in the next three years. However, the recovery is not impacting evenly across the sector. While most are driving for growth, around one in ten are anticipating negative growth in the next 12 months.”

For businesses that are keen to grow, it’s important they consider all the funding options, including cash, overdrafts, and trade or asset finance. About half of business owners are looking to reduce costs, suggesting cash flow is still tight.

“The availability of people and skills is the second biggest issue facing business owners after competition. So becoming an employer of choice, understanding the real cost of replacing staff, and knowing your team – their interests and goals – can help,’’ Turley said.

“The shifting powerbase to Asia brings with it growth opportunities that surpass traditional English-speaking export markets. It’s promising to see that New Zealand businesses are turning their attention to these markets – about 29% have sales to China and 60% of them expect this to increase in the next three years.

“Based on ANZ’s experience in helping our New Zealand customers to tap into growth opportunities offshore and Asia in particular, it’s important when considering international expansion to talk to business owners who have been there before; consider collaborating with some of your competitors, and ensure you are well-capitalised,” Turley said.

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