Like the rest of the world this year has been rather interesting for small business in Australia. By all accounts our economy has weathered the economic crisis quite well with the economy forecast to grow in 2010.
The latest MYOB Business Monitor  revealed that business confidence is growing; especially amongst younger business owners with 65% expecting improvements in the next year.
Whilst there will still be challenges to overcome by small businesses, a key to their success in Australia as in most countries will be to meet the challenges head on and act on opportunities to grow their business.
Here are is a list of small business opportunities for 2010:
Australian consumers represent a large portion of online shoppers  in the Asia Pacific region with 79% of internet users reporting they had made an online purchase in the last 12 months. Larger retailers are taking advantage of this; however a leading retailing expert Debra Templar says “small business retailers are still reluctant to have an online presence.” This is an easy opportunity to capitalise on now to grow their business.
2. Technology Services
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 72% of Australian households have internet access  and more small businesses rely on their computers and internet to run their business. Whilst there are businesses that offer at home or business service there is an opportunity to bring this online as a subscription based service with do it yourself videos or instructions for common problems, fixes, maintenance etc.
Offline networking events are commonplace in cities. An opportunity exists for networking events that focus on local and regional areas in different industries such as health care. One company The Brew  provides live local events to promote and connect small businesses with their local community as well as now expanding into webinars.
4. Partnering with Larger Businesses
Partnering via blogs with larger companies presents an opportunity for small businesses, especially with companies that target the small business market, such as banks and Telcos. One example is Paul Hassing from The Feisty Empire  who features in the Small Business Owner blog on the myBRC website.
5. Pets Services
Australians love their pets and this is a growing industry to cater for their and their owners’ needs. Most of these businesses operate on their own. Again by partnering with retail outlets such as Planet K9  does with Mega Pet Warehouse , opens up opportunities cost effectively.
6. The Environment
Being environmentally friendly and going green will increase in importance; however it is still an area that confuses people and businesses. There are already a couple of web directories and opportunities will continue to increase for consultants to assist all size businesses to have greener businesses.
This year saw a small business SourceBottle  utilizing email and Twitter to connect journalists, bloggers, businesses and PRs. Facilitating these connections is likely to grow and opportunities exist especially using platforms such as Twitter in industries where there is need to quickly connect two or more parties such as temp or contract recruitment.
With our dollar being healthy and our economy growing, travel will come back on the agenda. Opportunities will exist for experienced consultants and those that specialize in certain travel needs. This also opens up opportunities for consultants to set up home businesses instead of leasing retail space.
9. Work Place Relations
With more changes in workplace laws coming into effect , many small businesses are under prepared in this area. This is especially important as small businesses are a large employer group within Australia. This is likely to be a growth area for consultants who can assist small businesses through the new laws.