No business is an island

When I was judging a regional business awards some years ago, a business owner said something during an interview that has stuck with me. He said, “No business is an island; we all have to work together.”

In a highly competitive world it was refreshing to hear this perspective and I totally agree.

In this instance the owner of the restaurant recognised that it was to their benefit for the whole street of this rural town to prosper as it draws in more customers. You could be the best restaurant in Australia but if the surrounding shops are closed or shabby it reflects badly and customers are likely to keep driving on to the next best destination.

But what about if another restaurant opens up right next door? Bring it on I say!

For a start, competition is healthy. It keeps you on your toes thinking about how to do things better.  It also gives you the opportunity to create points of differences so you can cater for a wide range of tastes. And, when you’re booked out, you can refer on!

In another rural Victorian town the proprietor of an antique and collectibles store was absolutely delighted when two more identical businesses opened up right next door.

“It gives customers more of a reason to visit,” she explained. “Knowing that there are a number of antique and collective shops to browse, we become a drive to destination.”

This is equally true of my home town that has built up an impressive specialist automotive industry over a thirty year period. What started as a hobby for a group of street rodding enthusiasts is now a cluster of complementary businesses that each cater for a different need.

From restoration to auto electrics and panel beating, you will find everything you need; our rural town has effectively become a one-stop shop. As a result, hundreds of people visit each week, as customers and tourists. When an event is held this rises into the thousands benefitting just about every business in town.

Every community needs a mix of businesses to ensure that customers are catered for locally and don’t go elsewhere. It can be tough to get started and to stay in business which is where we, as business owners, can help each other. An encouraging word, some friendly advice, and participation in collaborative marketing opportunities can help our businesses grow together.

As the award-winning business owner said, “No business is an island.”

Kerry Anderson – – businesswoman, philanthropist and community advocate from Central Victoria who is passionate about rural and regional small business