Australia’s small businesses – of which there is an estimated 2.2 million, with five million employees – have been described as the backbone of the Australian economy. And with the SME sector bearing the burden of the COVID-19 economic downturn, it’s vital to provide the support and resources to enable the sector to adjust to the changing landscape, recover and successfully set themselves up for the future.
Jirsch Sutherland is proud to be a partner in the Buy Local Small Business Australia movement. This movement was formed in early 2020 to help small businesses survive through the pandemic by helping them keep owners, staff and customers well, and encouraging every Australian to buy from local small businesses – whether online, over the phone or face-to-face.
“At the highest level, two common themes emerged – we need to rebuild everyone’s confidence by helping them know how to keep well, and we need to rebuild revenues and capabilities of small businesses,” says Bill Lang, Executive Director of Small Business Australia. “And they need the ability to service customers via different platforms and they need customers to spend with them.
“This is more than a campaign; it’s a movement that will build, grow and take action for many years ahead.”
The movement has already attracted a number of major brands including NAB, Australia Post, NewsCorp, SNAP Printing, ZipCo and PEXA, Australia’s largest property technology company.
“Our partners – we call them Team Small Business Australia – know that small business owners are the heart and soul of their local communities and it will take all Australian citizens, customers and businesses – large and small – working together, keeping each other well and buying local to move our communities and small businesses forward,” says Lang.
Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Minister Michaelia Cash has described small businesses as the heartbeat of local communities. “When they thrive, communities thrive and the national economy prospers,” she said. “Throughout this pandemic, these businesses have done it tough and while some sadly won’t reopen, others have adapted to serve customers and to keep staff employed.”
It’s a view echoed by Jirsch Sutherland Partner Andrew Spring, who says it’s crucial for businesses and governments to support Australia’s small businesses and for us all to think local when considering purchasing goods and services. “Small businesses have been hit hardest by the economic uncertainty and it’s so important for us to recognise the vital role small businesses play in the national economy and local communities,” he says.
The Buy Local Small Business Australia movement has a three-pronged focus:
1. Helping small business owners, their employees and customers to Keep Well, by reinforcing the threes key things we can all do to reduce the spread of the virus and go about our lives: keeping our hands clean, keeping 2-arms-length apart, and wearing a mask.
2. Encouraging every Australian customer when needing to buy a product or service to start with looking to small businesses in their community.
3. Providing small business owners with access to resources, tools, advice and expense savings to adapt their businesses to the new demands of the COVID-19 economy.
“We need consumers, businesses and governments at all three levels to Buy Local,” says Lang. “We need them to buy directly from local community businesses, from businesses employing Australians, from businesses paying taxes in Australia.”
A louder voice
Lang believes Australia’s small business community will be intrinsically changed because of COVID-19 and that “many will need to close unless all three levels of government truly support them and show that they understand what small business life entails”.
“Small business owners and their employees will become a strong political force and demand simpler, fairer and better policies for society – and especially small businesses,” he says. “They will want to see progress in plain sight and plain English, and if there is little progress they will vote to get it. The five million people who earn their living in small business is more than every public servant or big company employee in the country.”
There is a range of key benefits of becoming a free member of Small Business Australia including:
- COVID-19 marketing material: promote COVID-19 safety with printable posters, signage and digital images, which can be used in-store, on websites, social media and for email marketing campaigns
- Online videos and other resources: access a range of educational videos, webinars, checklists and guides to help improve the financial sustainability of your business
- Savings: you can access savings through the buying power of Australia’s small business community. Small Business Australia has secured over $5200 in savings on energy, IT, professional services, marketing and advertising, business coaching and HR advice
To become involved go to www.smallbusinessaustralia.org/buy-local