Strengthening our small business communities: tips for business owners
Through our work in resolving disputes, we know that right now, so many small business people are under unprecedented pressure and financial strain. As the state continues to respond to the COVID-19 Omicron variant, many businesses are contending with multiple challenges – be it low consumer confidence and a steep drop in spending as a result, mounting debts or the significant staff shortages we’re seeing across industries.
I encourage business owners who are struggling to talk with an expert for advice on their business and options they might not have considered.
The Partners in Wellbeing helpline (1300 375 330) offers free access to qualified professionals including:
- business advisors who can help you address critical challenges in your business, including in relation to strategic planning, risk management and business closure
- financial counsellors who can assist with negotiations with insurers and creditors, help with understanding priorities when it comes to debts and give guidance on insolvency processes
- wellbeing coaches who can provide referrals and tailored support to help you manage professional and personal issues.
I encourage all small business owners to take this time to maximise on opportunities to boost their skills, network with others and get advice on their business from an expert.
Business Victoria offers:
- virtual one-on-one mentoring sessions with a business expert who can help grow your business or give you feedback on your business ideas
- live webinars on topics like generating cash flow, maximising your marketing and strategies to advance your online business
- sessions with the Small Business Bus, which will be travelling through all Victorian regions – supports on offer include free 45-minute sessions with a Rural Financial Counselling Service coach and the chance to pick up an exclusive booklet on planning and starting a business.
I also encourage all small business people to get behind the Go Local First campaign, which is about urging Australians to do their bit to help the economy recover by buying from their local small businesses.
You can choose to support the campaign on social media by:
- sharing insights into your business – what makes you and your business offerings stand out from the rest? Is it an interesting, special or unique product range, a personalised approach to customer service or a service that’s important to your community?
- highlighting other small businesses in your area and the heroes behind them, using the hashtag #GoLocalFirst
- joining the campaign’s Small Business Partners Facebook group to network, share ideas and access materials for social media
- drawing on example messaging for your platforms, adding photos or a video of your small business in action (see Go Local First’s easy-to-follow tips for filming).
You can also order free merchandise for your business – from bold and vibrant posters and corflutes to a small business kit of materials.
Final tip? Keep across opportunities and supports by subscribing to key newsletters like ours, Business Victoria’s and Go Local First’s.
– Acting Commissioner Mark Schramm