It’s that special time of year when I get the chance to wear my Projects Hat for Ipswich City Rotary’s Pride of Work Awards. We felt it was timely to showcase the (often forgotten) contributions of small to medium enterprises. This is the theme for our gala awards evening in May, where we celebrate SME’s – all their stories, triumphs and struggles, and the people behind them.
My dilemma is that by calling them “small or medium”, it somehow devalues the magnitude of their worth. In fact, they are giant businesses, who collectively employ half our workforce, create millions of jobs and account for one-fifth of the nation’s GDP. So, small business is really big business, and their contribution isn’t small – it’s huge. They generate growth, ideas and are the life and soul of any community. It goes without saying that they should be encouraged to flourish, and these prestigious awards are an ideal way to do just that.
I stumbled across these interesting statistics on their value to our nation (Andrew Griffiths blog).
- The total capital value of these businesses combined is in the vicinity of $4.3 Trillion (now that is a lot of zero’s).
- This value is 4 times that of the Australian Stock Exchange.
ASIC reports show SME’s are their biggest customer. In fact, 96% are small businesses with fewer than 20 employees.
In Executive Outlook’s most recent study of 100 private firms, we found overall confidence levels were strong. At the same time, competition is intense and consumer expectations are through the roof. The group shared many examples of multi-nationals beating up small operators, to grow volume. It’s that ongoing quandary – How do you generate new business, whilst improving productivity?
The claw-back for small operators is to be nimble, community-minded and know your customers. It’s about finding opportunities, building relationships and responding fast, with a workforce structure that can flex and bend as you need to.
We hear a lot about the mining crash, but mining accounts for just 2% of jobs. The service sector accounts for over 80% of jobs. This expansion in services has been a boon for smaller operators, and it goes way beyond our thriving café culture.
For start-ups, everything is on the line. There are no marketing, sales or finance departments to lean on. You’re it – for everything. Many entrepreneurs think nothing of risking everything to build a business from scratch (indeed, most thrive on the challenge). If a deal falls over, they refine and learn from their mistakes. They run their own race and push boundaries, despite financial insecurity. That’s the game. The Government’s $1.1B “ideas boom” with tax offsets and capital gains exemptions can only help their cause.
Family businesses make up over two-thirds of all businesses in Australia, with even more expected to pass down the line in coming years. Building on the founder’s vision, they adopt their own unique character as new generations move in. This creates such a truly exciting, inspiring and motivating environment.
Like many others, I’ve lived and breathed our family business at the TOP for much of my life. 27 years on, and all I know for sure is.. Technology’s transformed everything we know about business, and it’s been radical. In spite of this, you can’t take the human element out of what we do. Our personal touch is how we can be truly authentic. It’s your ability to connect, and invest in relationships – that makes the difference, not cold calling off a database. That’s still at the core of what we do, make and sell.
There’s nothing that comes close to the personalised service, care and dedication that goes with having your own business, and giving your customers the best experience. These entrepreneurs all have a story to tell, as do the people behind them. They carve a niche they are passionate about – one that enhances people’s lives. We can’t wait to recognise their dreams, successes and falls, for the tremendous contribution they make to our lives.
Watch this space, for the next update on our keynote speaker and date..
If you would like to be part of our gala Awards evening, please call me on 3812 2920, so we can make this happen for you.