Owning a small business is pretty scary stuff, even prior to the woes of 2020. This Halloween, we investigate the frightening risks small to medium businesses have been facing over the years and how to get your haunted house in order for 2021.

1. Not accounting for grave times

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, half of all SMEs go bust in the first three years of operation, why? Well according to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, poor cash flow is the cause of 40% of SME business failures. A rule of thumb indicates that a business should have liquid assets (i.e. cash in bank accounts and very liquid investments) equal to three to six months of their operating costs. While once this might have sounded excessive, it makes startling sense now!

Unprecedented global pandemic shutdowns aside, having a ready amount of cash on hand will help see you through slow trading times during the year.

2. Being unable to pay the ferryman

So, with cash flow the main issue effecting SMEs across Australia, it comes as no surprise that businesses aren’t being paid. In fact, according to The Invoice Market, there is $76 billion worth of outstanding invoices and two million businesses struggling with unpaid bills – pretty scary stuff. The Invoice Market’s SME Cash Flow Crisis Report shows that Australian businesses are constantly owed on average $38,000 each, with excuses ranging from ‘insufficient funds’ to ‘being reviewed internally’. Sadly, it’s a vicious cycle with 85% of debtors to Australian SMEs actually being other SMEs.

Worryingly, more than a third of Australian businesses have to cash in their own personal savings to deal with their business cash flow, impacting their ability to pay for essential living expenses such as rent and food.

3. Giving away all your candy

While a smaller issue compared to cash flow and mounting bills, but a common one none the less, is giving away control of your business’ important online assets. COVID-19 bought this to light with the urgent need to operate online and update websites and social media profiles, only to be faced with the realisation that many businesses don’t have access to these company assets. Business owners unaware of who is hosting their website (let alone the log in details), not owning their social media profiles and so forth, causes a lot of hassle, not to mention lost opportunity and time.

Now is the time to take back ownership of your online presence once and for all – ensure the details are found, the information corrected and stored securely to avoid this added stress.


SMEs are vital to our economy, employing 70% of our entire workforce in Australia. While running a business is not always fun and candy, the effect your successful business can have on our employment and economic recovery as a nation is actually pretty darn sweet.