Whilst I haven’t been a grazier or a business owner in a drought affected town or even had to deal with the many years of worry and stress that goes along with the long hard years of no rain. I have, however been a remote and regional business owner. I am all too familiar with the days and weeks of isolation of running a business on your own in remote areas of Australia.. for me it was the Pilbara the long KMs of rich red soil and searing heat.
It can be daunting trying to get a small business up and running on your own in a small regional town but often .. most heartbreaking of all… when you finally do and things are going ok… you are often at the mercy of the changes local economy. The local mine stops employing due to a drop in commodity prices, people stop spending because they don’t have work, there is no rain so the local community has no money to spend and the list goes on..
There are many physical and mental hurdles, and you don’t need many excuses to talk yourself out of it. Its tough and it’s a hard slog. So, how does rural, regional and remote business build some resilience, build some level of surety when there are dramatic changes in their town? How can they not only survive, but still grow their business even when the local economy is doing it tough?
There are many stories of towns in our great brown land that have actually thrived in tough times and when a few local businesses are thriving… they employ people when no one else does, they put back economically into the community when no one else can and the town becomes a little more stable.
I am often asked to share stories of the women I have had the privilege to meet and work with on the USQ Wire Program. These stories of women who have overcome so much adversity to start, establish and run their businesses from the bush are incredible and inspiring. Often it is because they are desperate to create some off-farm income and to create that financial stability that through sheer determination they succeed.
Sarah is from a small town in Central Queensland and turned to virtual peer learning to ease the isolation of running a small business in a small town. By having access each week to a group of likeminded people to unpack current challenges and opportunities, connect with, and most of all “learn” with, she grew her fledging online authentic women’s bush clothing business into a global business and now employs 5 people from her town.
Sarah has a cattle property and wanted to create some off-farm income and through the virtual peer learning program she learnt “how” to create a sustainable growth strategy and most of all learnt the skills she needed to grow a business from anywhere and have a network of other business owners that had her back. “It’s wonderful knowing that I am not alone and that there are other people out there like me and that actually some of those people have the knowledge I need to tap into to help me grow and make better decisions in my business.”
I am a passionate believer that rural, regional and remote small business are the sleeping giants of our economy and we want to do what we can to wake them up to help them build a sustainable business from anywhere. We want to support rural, regional and remote small business to not only be more resilient in your day to day business but thrive and grow.
Here’s how we would like to help. I am running a virtual (it is completely online so you can dial in your PJs if you want to) small business growth program commencing on November 15th. The program is designed to support rural regional and remote businesses to develop a solid strategy, gain the skills they need and most importantly of all build a network of rural and regional and remote businesses outside of where they live.
This program normally costs $2995 for the 14 week program , however for those start-up, solo or micro business owners from drought affected areas of Australia we would like to offer 5 partially funded scholarships to complete the program. The scholarship is valued at $2,495 and heavily subsidises the cost of participating in the program (that just leaves $500).
If you would like to apply for a scholarship please complete this expression of interest form before 11th November. We will announce the recipients on the 12th and you will be on the virtual bootcamp on Friday 15th of November,
If you are not ready for all of that and just want to simply connect … we also offer a FREE virtual chat every fortnight for rural and regional business owners.. there is no rules (mind you it is facilitated so there is structure ) its based on group needs, essentially a group coaching session. .. click on the links in the article to find out more.