Business optimism slips on the world stage


Businesses around the world are less optimistic about their prospects for 2015, but Australian organizations are still looking forward to a potentially prosperous year ahead.

That’s the key message of a new survey from Grant Thornton into global business confidence. After surveying business leaders from 35 economies around the world, Grant Thornton found business optimism has dropped to 35 per cent – a seven point decrease from the last iteration of the study.

The result bucks a trend of increasing confidence following the lows of the Global Financial Crisis. Business optimism bottomed out at 12 per cent in 2012, before increasing to 28 per cent in 2013 and 42 per cent in 2014.

However, the good news is that business leaders based in Australia and New Zealand remain relatively optimistic about their positioning.

Both countries ranked inside the top four most optimistic economies, behind only Ireland and India, which recorded a whopping 98 per cent business optimism. This is perhaps unsurprising when you consider 72 per cent of Australian respondents to the survey reported experiencing revenue growth in 2014.

Nonetheless, if your organization is experiencing a lack of optimism about the next 12 months, it might be time to take action.

There are a few simple steps that businesses across Australia can take to ensure they are adequately prepared and well positioned for the year to come. These include:

  • Strategise: Putting in place a strong strategic plan for the next 12 months will give your organization direction and provide employees with more confidence about business outcomes. Meet with key stakeholders and determine what you are hoping to achieve in 2015, and the steps you need to take to meet these goals.
  • Innovate: Businesses that stagnate and play it safe are more likely to find themselves trailing the competition and unenthusiastic about future prospects. Don’t be afraid to take risks in 2015, so long as these risks are calculated and reasonable.
  • Listen: One of the best ways to improve the prospects of your business while also boosting employee confidence is to simply listen – listen to what staff have to say, take on their feedback and implement their suggestions to drive efficiency improvements and new initiatives.