Mid-sized businesses are huge contributors to our nation’s prosperity and growth, and the source of employment for so many Australians. CommBank continues to back many businesses within the mid-market, not only through its commercial solutions but through tracking the operating and competitive dynamics of many industries. Our particular areas of industry expertise include Professional Services, Construction, Manufacturing and Wholesale Trade, and Retail Trade.
Prior to the pandemic, Australia had been enjoying an unrivalled 29 years of uninterrupted economic growth. And while health and economic challenges remain, Australia is once again leading advanced economies on the path to recovery. During the pandemic many mid-sized businesses reviewed their business models and profit/cost drivers. As a result, they are emerging leaner, stronger and with a vastly improved digital offering. There is a sense of renewed vigour and optimism.
Businesses have faced tremendous change over the past three years. Technological advances have had a big impact. On the one hand technology has enabled businesses to be more efficient and productive, to develop new products and services, and to better understand and meet their customers’ need. Yet it has also brought considerable disruption, including the entry of new business models.
Mid-sized businesses have had to deal with a changing regulatory environment, as well as heightened expectations of businesses’ role in society. Customer needs and expectations continue to evolve. Whatever their last best-in-class experience was, they expect the same from all interactions with businesses, regardless of industry.
The pandemic has only accelerated many of these trends. The business landscape is as dynamic as ever, making resilience, adaptability, and the ability to innovate at pace essential qualities for mid-sized businesses wanting to grow.
This report covers a broad spectrum of industries. Nevertheless, as Australia’s largest bank, it is evident from conversations with our business customers that some common themes are at play as businesses think about where they should be channelling their resources to set themselves up for continued growth.
The skills that businesses will need in the workforce of the future is a recurring topic, as is the necessity of staying close to customers and using data analytics to better understand their needs. The pandemic was a timely reminder that supply chains must be strong and diversified, while geopolitical events such as Brexit and tensions with China present challenges but also opportunities to expand into new markets.
Businesses must understand their value proposition, how it differentiates them in the market, and ensure they remain relevant. Ongoing investment in people, technology and digital transformation is an imperative.
Conditions for investment are ideal. Interest rates are at record lows and likely to remain so for quite some time. At CommBank we have considerable appetite to back businesses with sound plans for growth. We see many opportunities for businesses that are prepared to be bold and invest for further growth now.
Executive General Manager, Commercial Banking