Everyone is a critic these days and meeting expectations is the secret to a successful operation, according to small business owners.
The owners behind two city hospitality venues and a specialist grocery store say they are all satisfied with their businesses, despite the prolonged drought and tough climate.
Latest research, in August, from a report commissioned by American Express found that the majority of regional consumers believe that small businesses in their local areas are doing it tough.
However despite these challenges, 83 per cent of small business owners have a positive outlook and are satisfied.
William Farrer Hotel owner David Barnhill said giving a reason why people should walk through the door is the secret to a successful business.
"I love the industry, otherwise I wouldn't have continued for 19 years," Mr Barnhill said.
"People's expectations are pretty high, so you've got to try and meet their expectations as people expect good service.
"There's a thousand other pubs around and people will go elsewhere or they'll stay home; people don't have to come out and so you've got to give them a good reason to walk through the door."
Increased costs and overheads, cash flow restraints and the current state of the national economy were named as major factors hampering small business owners' efforts to pursue plans for growth.
Mr Barnhill said staffing has been the biggest challenge over nearly two decades with the industry and said the drought has impacted the hotel to a small degree.
"I think we're a bit more immune to it [the drought], but we're still affected," he said.
"The farmers obviously wouldn't be spending much in town as what they could be ... I'm sure it's only onward and upwards."
In other business news
Coffee Niche was awarded bronze at the National Restaurant and Catering Awards held in September.
Co-owner Brigeen Dedini said a friendly team and being consistent are really important when managing a hospitality business.
"We pride ourselves on being really friendly, having good staff and how we interact with customers," Mrs Dedini said.
"It's a tough gig as everyone is a critic these days ... it's a challenge but we got to nationals again, which was great."
The coffee shop opened seven years ago and Mrs Dedini said it was a challenge at first to get their name out there.
"We're not on the main drag ... we've got a good group of regulars who support us really well and it took a while to get up and running but when you've got regulars, it's a big help."
Jenny Storrier, behind the Source Bulk Foods, said in five months the team have been able to create a community beyond the store through workshops and being personable.
"I'm new to this, but I do believe a business that is able to create a strong community feel around it, especially in a regional area, is important," she said.
"People are only buying what they need and I think that's also appealing to older people as well as being a little bit nostalgic.
"People feel really supported by shopping here; we know their names and personal service goes a long way."
Mrs Storrier said her business is also conscious of those wanting to protect the local environment.