Businesses ignoring the needs of customers with a disability are throwing away hundreds of millions of dollars a year in lost opportunity, according to the state’s peak business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber.

“The personal income of Australians living with a disability is collectively worth around $100 billion annually and it’s time businesses invested in the growth opportunities it presents,” NSW Business Chamber CEO Stephen Cartwright said 
 
“Almost 1 in 5 people in New South Wales live with a disability and, as the population ages, the number of people with a disability, and the average time for which they will have that disability, is likely to increase,” Mr Cartwright said. 
 
“Businesses needs to be alive to the growth of our disabled population and make simple changes to ensure they aren’t missing out.  
 
“To help all businesses capture these opportunities, the NSW Business Chamber has developed a new guide Missed Business – A Guide to Attract More Customers through better Access 
 
“Improving access to your business helps ensure all of your potential customers aren’t missing out.  Changes like installing a ramp at your front entrance or training staff to better assist someone with a disability can mean the difference between someone making a purchase at your business or taking their business elsewhere. 
 
“With research suggesting that one in three customers with a disability have stopped transactions because they weren’t treated with respect indicated that there’s a clear opportunity for business to be serving these customers better,” Mr Cartwright said. 
 
26 year old Emily James is a quadriplegic who has had many difficult experiences as a customer. 
 
“I use a power wheelchair and I always call to check that a place is accessible before making a booking.  
 
“One of the most isolating feelings is when I turn up to find there actually are a few steps and I can’t get in. Having a portable ramp available can make all the difference in being able to enjoy shopping at a business,” says Ms James. 
 
Encouragingly, quite a number of businesses have already taken on the challenge to improve disability access with great results.   

 
Tips to improving access: 
 
 Advertise your advantages 
 Add colour to make your entrance stand out 
 Try to provide a level entry 
 Put safety markings on reflective glass so people don’t walk into it
 Don’t make your shop front an obstacle course with sign boards and bargain bins in the way  Better position doors and doorways and lower door handles
 Make sure there are clear sight lines from the entry to the counter
 Staff training  
 
Copies of the Missed Business Guide can be found at : https://www.nswbusinesschamber.com.au/NSWBCWebsite/media/Policy/NSWBC-MissedBusiness-Guide.pdf