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Government urged to better support home-based businesses

Tuesday, 29 January 2013 | By Michelle Hammond

Leading ‘mumpreneur’ Cas McCullough has highlighted the struggles of home-based micro businesses ahead of International Work At Home Person Week, calling for more support from government and industry.


McCullough is the founder of home-based businesses Mumatopia and Support a Work At Home Person, a social networking community for home-based business owners. McCullough is also a regular StartupSmart blogger.


According to McCullough, the boom in home-based micro businesses can be attributed to social media and a thriving international eCommerce environment.


But she says governments are failing to keep pace with the boom, warning businesses will continue to fail as fast as they start up unless they receive greater support.


According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, micro businesses account for 84.2% of all active businesses in Australia.


“Micro businesses account for the largest number of businesses in Australia but they’re also failing at about the same rate as they are starting,” McCullough says.


Her comments come ahead of International Work At Home Person Week, hosted by Support A WAHP, which will take place from February 4-9 after launching last year.


McCullough says the issues facing micro businesses continue to mount.


“It’s little things that drive you nuts really. I recently registered another business name and was shocked that I had to make my home address public online in relation to my business,” she says.


“What’s to stop someone from stalking me at home? Governments should be protecting home-based business owners, not hanging them out to dry and leaving them vulnerable.”


The National Business Name Register, which is administered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, is a contentious issue among home-based businesses.


Businesses are required to include a physical address on the register. For many home-based businesses, their only physical address is their personal address.


This requirement has, understandably, sparked privacy concerns.


But that’s not the only issue McCullough is concerned about.


“Many new businesses get taken for a ride when it comes to accessing internet services such as domain hosting, search engine optimisation and business marketing,” she says.


“I was so frustrated with the lack of support in this area that last year I started an online training program to help micro businesses navigate the muddy waters of online marketing.”


“One of the reasons iWAHP Week was established last year was to draw more attention to the contribution micro businesses make to the economy and highlight the need for more government and industry support.”


McCullough is calling for the establishment of a dedicated organisation to support the plight of micro businesses.


“There is no peak industry body for home-based businesses in Australia,” she says.


“Many non-employing micro business owners simply don’t have time to lobby for change and they wouldn’t know who to go to anyway.”