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Small business month – Central Queensland Today

Show your support for Queensland small businesses this May. Picture supplied.

by Nyree Johnson

Small business month is upon us yet again, and it’s timely to recognize the significant contribution small businesses make to our economy.

As a small business owner in this region for over seven years now, I’ve personally felt the ebb and flow of the change and disruption to our everyday lives.

We are riding each wave with intention and, at times, in a reactive fashion to ensure business continuity and stability in employment for our people.

Owning and managing a small business is quite a rewarding undertaking for me, even though the lifestyle demands long hours and a sense of responsibility not necessarily found in regular employment.

Different jobs, of course, provide us with other challenges, but when you work for an employer, big or small, and you knock off for the day, you’re done.

The overarching success of the business or organization you’re working for is not your responsibility.

I’m generalizing here, so stay with me.

Business owners may walk out the door at the end of the day, but their minds still run.

In small businesses, in particular, one person wears many hats and considers aspects of their business, from front line customer service to marketing, HR, and strategy.

When your livelihood is on the line, you’ll do what it takes to succeed.

With small businesses making up 97 per cent of all businesses in Queensland and employing more than 914,000 people, they essentially are the engine room of the Queensland economy, working across every sector and contributing around $120 billion per year to the economy.

Approximately 42 per cent of the state’s private-sector workforce are working in small businesses.

For as long as my husband Nathan and I have been together (22 years now), we’ve always dreamed of having our own workshop.

When we moved home to Rockhampton after eight years away in Longreach and Brisbane, we set out on the mining path, but still always with the intention to have our own home and then our own business.

For some, it’s a dream that is realized and then quickly discovered is not for them.

For others, it’s a lifestyle and adaptation to the vocation of small business ownership.

For others, they spend a significant amount of time in business contributing to our local economy before either retiring or moving back to paid employment working for someone else.

Unfortunately, many small businesses don’t last too long as well.

Seven years in, and it doesn’t get easier; you just know more stuff as time goes on.

You learn, grow, and develop, finding out what works and what doesn’t.

When you have a new baby on the way, almost every person wants to tell you the dos and don’ts of parenthood.

The same goes with new businesses, either establishing them or purchasing a pre-existing business.

Lucky for me, I had some great advice from my Step-Mum, Sue, regarding parenthood – “Put the books and magazines away and do what you know you need to do”.

Of course, books and magazines are helpful for learning and studying.

Still, you must have the ability to interpret the lessons and apply them to your circumstances, either personally or in business.

If you don’t, seek help from a qualified professional.

Knowing yourself well will help you in business because when you understand your strengths and limitations, you can play to your strengths and outsource your limits.

As we head towards the end of the financial year, which is actually one of my favorite times, I’d like to pay tribute to a team who’ve helped small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs in this region for over five years.

To the employees, former employees and members of the SmartHub, well done! To quote Graeme Connors, “You’ve done us proud”.

Perhaps a number of our community members won’t realize the impact you’ve had but having personally witnessed it myself and seen businesses established in this region and grow to multimillion-dollar enterprises; it’s inspiring to see that a large portion of this is all thanks to your services, support and space—the SmartHub slogan of ‘Where Business Thrives’ could not be more accurate.

I will admit I am disappointed that the initiative and investment by our local Government is finalizing in June of this year.

Yes, there may be third party operators potentially coming into play, but having a successful enterprise like this simply close, is short-sighted.

We were ahead of the game by having a SmartHub backed by our region’s leaders locally.

Here’s hoping a solution is just around the corner.

This year’s Queensland Small Business Month theme is ‘Love your small business’ and aims to celebrate and encourage locals in the community to support small businesses.

If you’re looking for tangible ways to show your support, the Queensland Government has put together nine steps you can consider.

Some are odd, some are ok and good suggestions, but I’ll let you choose which ones you might want to participate in.

Buy from independent businesses instead of big chains.

Buy gift cards and vouchers for use later on or as gifts for friends and family.

Don’t cancel when you can reschedule.

Buy fresh produce from locals.

Reach out to your favorite businesses – volunteering your skills in web design, bookkeeping, photography or finance could be just what they need help with.

Share your support for small businesses online and take a selfie using the QSBM social media filter when you shop locally.

Don’t forget to tag #QSBM2022, #shoplocal, #loveyoursmallbusiness and #buylocal.

Encourage your friends to buy from small businesses and let them know you’re supporting small businesses.

Pay the goodwill forward and share your good experiences with small independent businesses on social media using the hashtags.

Give your favorite small business a plug on social media and tag them.

Please remember too that when you support a small business, you’re supporting a dream.

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