By Aimee Chanthadavong

More than two thirds of Australian small business owners feel forgotten by their local communities and one in four feel no connection at all to the communities where they operate, according to a recent study by Galaxy Research.

The research also found a majority of small business (54 per cent) acknowledge they are finding it hard to compete mainly because they are being outspent on advertising or beaten on prices.

To reconnect consumers with local businesses, a national Shop Small campaign, founded by American Express, has been launched in Australia to encourage Australians to support small businesses during November. The campaign was initially launched in 2010 in the United States, followed by Canada and the United Kingdom.

“Employing more than five million Australians, small businesses are the lifeline of our communities and our economy. Yet, they clearly feel overlooked by their own communities,” said general manager of small business services at American Express, Jason Fryer.

“It’s time to reverse this trend and rally behind small businesses. Shop Small aims to reconnect Australians to small businesses and the value they offer to consumers, communities and the economy at large.”

For small merchants in Sydney and Melbourne, complimentary events and seminars will be hosted for small businesses by event partners, including Facebook, Netregistry and MYOB.

For example, MYOB is running a ‘Big Heroes Shop Small’ campaign, offering five business makeover grants worth $10,000 each, as well as 100 prizes of $250 cash to the customers of small businesses participating in the “Shop Small” month.

“Small businesses make a major contribution to local investment, workforce development and economic growth, and many fund the livelihoods of other local people,” MYOB CEO Tim Reed.

“They provide close to half of industry employment – around five million people – and contribute around one-third of our GDP. Yet they often don’t receive the attention they deserve. That’s why we’ve joined forces with the Shop Small movement to help make their business life easier.