Three tips for small business success in regional NSW

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    By Ron Maxwell - CEO

Vehicle Apprentice training in NSW
Vehicle Apprentice training in NSW

As a long-term resident of regional NSW, I know that small business is at the beating heart of our communities, from cafes, gyms and florists to tradespeople, accountants and lawyers.

We love choosing local in our regions because we want to build a strong economy and help locals support their families, but also because we like businesses that understand our lifestyle and appreciate us as customers.

From another angle, as an Employment Services leader, I also see first-hand how life-changing starting your own business can be. It is hard and demanding, but it can also give you the chance to do something you love.

Whether you have a new business idea, want to turn your passion into a business, or are already running a small business, here are some tips for success in regional NSW.

1. Embrace the community

Whether you are born and raised locally, or you’ve travelled across the country or even the world to start your business, the key to success in our regions is to understand that you and your business will be joining a close-knit community.

There are many ways to engage with communities in regional areas, and they are often quite different to our urban areas. Most regional NSW councils have a list of upcoming community events and local sporting clubs. You may want to get involved in a business sense through sponsorships, volunteer as an individual, or just get out there and meet your would-be customers by attending these events first.

Relationships are forged at these types of events, particularly amongst volunteers and those supporting these activities, so it can be a great way to build connections or get your business out there.

If you want the community to embrace your new business, embrace the community first. People anywhere are more likely to give their custom to people they know and trust.

2. Make customer service a priority

Good customer service matters in any area, from big cities to small towns. However, in our regions, it can be make or break from quite early on. Experiences with a business move fast through small communities. And word of mouth is key. So make sure your message is a positive one.

Personal touches such as learning names, regular orders or just saying good morning to others can really go a long way.

3. Understand the playing field

Small business can be tough, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Just loving what you do isn’t enough to make it work. With owning a business comes a raft of responsibilities and opportunities, so it’s important you understand all aspects of the playing field.

This can be daunting for even seasoned business owners, but there are programs out there that can help.

One such program is the Federal Government’s Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) program. Suited to both prospective and current small business owners, the program enables participants to customise the level of support they need to turn an idea or existing business into a viable concern.

It’s available to Australian citizens or eligible visa holders over the age of 15 years who are not in employment or education for more than 25 hours per week, with some additional criteria for specific services.

There are a range of fantastic supports on offer. For example, those with a business idea can do workshops to explore their options and understand how to thrive in business. For existing business owners or those almost ready to start, there are a range of options, from business health checks to coaching, planning, and advice on training and qualifications and financial supports available to you.

Even better, there is no cost to eligible participants, so it’s well worth checking out. VERTO is a SEA provider in the Hunter, Mid North Coast, Murray Riverina and Far West Orana regions. Reach out to our team on 1300 4 VERTO to find out more and get started.