Dr Darius Pfitzner

Business Academic and Researcher


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Charlse Darwin University



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  What key issues and limiting factors impact Micro and Small businesses in Australia?  


This research is being conducted by Dr Darius Pfitzner of the College of Business and Law at Charles Darwin University.

Are you Hobby, Micro or Small Business owner?

You can help improve conditions for your business by participating in our short (4 minute) online survey. To access the survey follow this link - Business Survey


This survey does NOT collect any information that might be used to identify you or your business.


It is well recognised that small businesses are the engine room to Australia’s economy and that microbusinesses comprise around than 88% of the small businesses in Australia. It is also acknowledged that microbusinesses are an important factor driving entrepreneurial and economic development in Australia with the microbusiness sector contributing significantly to Australia’s economy, its social fabric and its ability to evolve, innovate, incubate and meet changing economic demands.

However, Australia lacks a formally defined microbusiness category that could be used to create appropriate laws, regulations and systems designed specifically to support microbusinesses. Further to this, there is a lack of microbusiness specific data collected and published because the key Australian regulatory and reporting bodies either do no no recognise microbusinesses or when they do they are only included as a relatively unmonitored and unrepresented subset of small business. If we don’t collect and analysis data and debate observations about that the ‘very small’ businesses (microbusinesses) in Australia, governments can’t possibly account for the differences between small and microbusiness or, support the development and sustainability of microbusinesses in Australia through targeted legislation and developmental systems.

Toward addressing these issues, Pfitzner & McLaren (2018) investigated the lack of a detailed formal Australian microbusiness definition and the potential ramifications for businesses and the nation. Based on this investigation, Pfitzner & McLaren proposed criteria for a new formal Australian Microbusiness category. In identifying and justifying the associated criteria that would be used to form the new business category Pfitzner & McLaren proposed a list of nine (9) key issues and limiting factors that impact microbusinesses in Australia. This proposed list is based on analysis of secondary data specific to small and medium sized businesses with microbusiness being represented by the much broader small business category. This highlights the fact that because Australia does not have a formal microbusiness category there are no detailed data sets related to Australian microbusinesses. 

Purpose of this Survey

The purpose of this survey is to collect data specific to small and microbusiness that will be processed and analysed to produce descriptive statistics and conduct a factor analysis to achieve the following:

a)     Identify key thresholds that differentiate microbusiness and small business, and

b)     To quantitatively prove or disprove the veracity of the proposed list of nine (9) key issues and limiting factors that impact microbusinesses in Australia, and

c)      Analyse the utility of the criteria that form the proposed new microbusiness category, and

d)     Identify any important interrelationships between representative microbusiness attributes, and

e)     To identify key issues, themes and limiting factors related to microbusinesses in Australia.

The survey will be made available online between December 2018 and June 2019. All key observations resulting from the analysis of the survey data will be published in ranked Australian journals within 1-2 years of the close of the survey. You will be able to access a report of summary results after August 1st 2019 via Charles Darwin University's Institutional Research Repository (http://www.researchers.cdu.edu.au).

Reference: Pfitzner, Darius M. and McLaren, John, Microbusinesses in Australia: a Robust Definition, Australasian Accounting, Business and Finance Journal, 12(3), 2018, 4-18. doi:10.14453/aabfj.v12i3.2 Source: https://ro.uow.edu.au/aabfj/vol12/iss3/2/

Research Significance

There are three aspects to this research that are significant, these are:

1.      This will be the first data set compile that details aspects of Australian microbusinesses and that may be used to identify key differences between small and microbusinesses.

2.      Observations from this research will be used to promote debate about, and the development of, a formal Australian Microbusiness category. 

3.      A significant gap in human knowledge related to microbusinesses will be addressed by using data from this survey to objectively test:

           a.      Pfitzner & McLaren’s proposed list of nine (9) key issues, and

           b.      the boundaries of their proposed limiting factors, and

           c.;      the appropriateness of the criteria that form their proposed new business category.


NO information that might be used to identify you or your business will be collected in this survey. All data from the survey will be stored in accordance with the Charles Darwin University Research Data Management Procedures (pro-123; available at: https://www.cdu.edu.au/governance/doclibrary/pro-123.pdf). All data from the survey will be managed and made available to the research community in accordance with the University’s Responsible Conduct of Research Policy (pol-035; available at: https://www.cdu.edu.au/governance/doclibrary/pol-035.pdf).

Benefits of this study.

This study seeks to discover new information that can be used to improve local and national government support for microbusinesses in Australia. The research will also result in a microbusiness specific data set that will be made available to the broader research community.

It is anticipated that a number of key stakeholders will benefit from this research in the long-run, these being  microbusiness owners and employees, the academic business research community, government departments, public bodies producing laws and regulations, private bodies researching microbusinesses and indeed the broader Australian economy.

If you participate, what would be expected of you?

If you chose to participate in this survey you will be asked to answer simply questions about you’re yourself and your business and, the survey should take between 5 and 10 minutes to complete.


This questionnaire does NOT collect any information that might be used to identify you or your business. The questions in this survey are mostly about operational aspects of your business and are unlikely to evoke discomfort or other complications. However, if you feel uncomfortable answering any question you are able to skip any or all questions and if at any time you feel any distress you can close the browser to discontinue the survey. If necessary you may seek counselling or support by contacting Lifeline on 13 11 44 in Australia or your local health practitioner.

Your rights and responsibilities.

To participate, you must be 18 or older. Click the >> button below to consent to your participation. You can close your browser to withdraw at any time. But, once you submit at the end, your responses cannot be withdrawn because all your answers will be anonymous.

Results of the study.

Result from this survey will be published in a variety of ranked Australian journals within 2 years.

People to contact

For questions about the project, please contact Dr. Darius Pfitzner at Darius.Pfitzner@cdu.edu.au.

For concerns about the ethical conduct of this study, the Ethics team of the CDU Human Research Ethics Committee can be contacted on +61 1800 466 215 or emailed at ethics@cdu.edu.au.

Ethical guidelines

This project will observe the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) produced by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. This statement has been developed to protect the interests of people who agree to participate in human research studies. If possible, please print this document for future reference.