Small business is big business. Additionally, for many of you in our Hinterland towns, your business is local business.
So what do I know about business? Well for a start I have owned multiple small businesses predominately in the areas of Information Technology and more recently News and Media.
For over twenty years I consulted in information systems and technology, developing, implementing and managing complex integrated business systems, mostly for distribution and manufacturing organisations and often partnering with the likes of IBM and Microsoft.
I‘ve also had the sleepless nights worrying about cashflow, where the next major client will come from and the painful job of letting good employees go because of an economic downturn.
I suppose what I am saying is that I can empathise with business.
There are challenges facing the Sunshine Coast as we deal with faster than expected population growth and our desire to maintain our treasured lifestyle and environment.
Council must maintain its pressure on the state government to better fund the population growth they are happy to send our way.
Then there are the effects on key industries such as tourism with the external threats of fires, floods, storms and things such as corona viruses. The effects all flow down to reduced business activity into our towns.
Another threat is the changing nature of consumers who are more and more driven by price, range and availability. Loyalties quickly go out of the window when people are watching their pennies and want the latest and greatest thing now.
Left to its own devices the market will sort out the weak from the strong but along the way we will lose much that is intangible yet so valuable. I think council can be more compassionate and accommodating in their support and guidance for small business, helping along the way to assist in building robust businesses, more capable of weathering natural and economic shocks.
I also believe council can be supportive to the extent of giving our local businesses the best chance of success by not unnecessarily putting hurdles and roadblocks in their way.
Council can share at scale with local business, best practices in technology, business continuity, online marketing, exporting, facilitation with mentors, and helping local business gain supply contracts with council.
Council should be seen more as a coach than as a policeman.
There is also great attention given to the big projects happening down on the coast. Council needs to be engaging with local businesses to show how they can share in these new projects.
Opportunities for additional tourism and the exporting of food and agricultural products once the international airport comes on stream for example.
And the broadband undersea cable, how can hinterland companies leverage this new asset, are they in a state of preparedness to leverage this new asset, are there new business opportunities?
There’s a saying that I have learnt from my years producing videos.
I think it is one for all of you to use on council.
It goes like this….
“Don’t tell me, show me.”
Don’t tell me about these new opportunities, show me how I can be involved.