Defined by their spirit, small businesses are the lifeblood of our community. They are the businesses that know you by name; that provide locales with their unique feel. They are businesses run by your friends, your neighbours, and possibly your family. These businesses have suffered the most in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. And now, we as a community must rally collectively to play a part in their survival.
Every little action counts.
Small business is Australia’s largest employer
Small business is integral to the success of our economy. No matter which definition you choose; whether it’s a business with:
- less than 20 employees (Australian Bureau of Statistics); or
- turnover of $10 million or less (Australian Taxation Office), small business accounts for 97 per cent+ of all Australian businesses and employs more than 4.7 million people. That is 41 per cent of the business workforce, making small business Australia’s largest employer.
Small actions you can take that have a real impact
No matter who you are, business owner or otherwise, there are many things you can do to help – not all of which require money, such as:
- Think about who you are buying from in the first instance when you do go shopping. Is there a smaller retailer offering the same product or can you go direct to the source to get the same thing (ie, rather than through a delivery service etc)?
- If you own a business, are there areas in your supply chain that could benefit from being hived off to a smaller business, rather than a large one? Or do you have business areas ripe for outsourcing where you could consider quotes from small businesses in the first instance?
- Are there small businesses you already frequent that you can refer others to support?
- Are there people in your network that could benefit from your mentoring? Or, are there other like-minded business owners in your area with whom you could network and soundboard each other’s’ ideas?
- Are you comfortable as a business owner or an individual, providing shout outs, recommendations, or reviews on social media? It could be as simple as positively engaging with a business’s social posts regularly.
Collaborate with like-minded individuals
An example of such collective effort is in the sweatshirts manufactured for Melbourne start-up She Lion. So much more than just a product, 22 businesses banded together to create something that would:
- Inspire and stimulate customers to buy from small businesses and support local.
- Highlight the incredible skills and talent that we have here in Australia and shine a light on the need to invest in our textile and garment manufacturing industry (if we want to keep it here).
- Spread some much-needed joy and community spirit, in a time where there has been so much distressing news!
Philip Skorsis, owner of family-run Melbourne garment manufacturer, C.G.T. (AUST) Pty Ltd, told me, “Supporting local means supporting each other in every possible way. We know a lot of different makers in Melbourne, but Australian made is still very hard to source, it doesn’t need to be that way. This whole project from zero to wear is completely local and more businesses should strive for the same!”
A little support can go a long way and, together, we can all make a difference.