Open your eyes. Look closely. Search with real intent. They are alive. They are many. They are fighting. And they need your help.
With all the noise that C-19 has fashioned, if you take a look at the business landscape, nothing has really changed that much.
Big Business still dominates the news.
Big Business continues to monopolise our radio and TV advertising waves.
Big Business dwarfs Small Business in consumer support and patronage.
True, there has been a small increase in some feel-good press around alleged ‘innovative’ small businesses diversifying. However, scratch beneath the surface and you’ll soon realise that many of these so-called stories are little more than feel-good fluff to placate the masses into believing that the media is delivering balanced reporting. Let’s face it, a narrative espousing the ‘ingenuity’ of a small café ‘pivoting’ to focus on takeaway as a method to combat the C-19 downturn is necessary, and not breath-taking or remarkable.
I was talking to a friend recently, and of course C-19 wormed its way into our conversation as I’m sure it’s doing to almost every other discussion currently. We were talking about the heavy job losses across all businesses throughout Australia: unheard of in our generation, and only going to get worse. My friend then retold to me a story he’d seen on the news a day or so ago. The story was about how fantastic it was that several of our biggest companies were going on a hiring spree; 3000 jobs on offer here; 5000 jobs there; jobs, jobs for everyone! My friend made some very pertinent points and indeed it was good to see that some people would soon be employed again. But at what cost?
I’d also seen the same or similar story: on several different channels and mediums. It was difficult to miss it, even if you were in isolation. The media was in a frenzy and practically frothing at the bit to broadcast this news to the nation:
“______ has jobs for thousands!!!”
“Call ______ if you need a job!”
“______ about to hire across the nation as demand skyrockets!”
It totally dominated the airwaves for two or three days. And such fantastic free publicity for the Big Businesses involved. They couldn’t ask for much more.
And while I’m not questioning how important Big Business is to our country, what’s being overlooked by many Australians, consciously or otherwise, is the impact that a strong and growing small business sector has on our communities.
- 73% of small businesses give back to their local communities by sponsoring community programs supporting charities. In just one 12-month period, SMBs donated $8.5 billion to community organisations.
- Around 45% of our county’s workforce is (or likely ‘was’ thanks C-19) employed by SMBs.
- 57% of Australia’s GDP is attributed to SMBs.
Now picture one million of them, lined up, marching down a B-line directly towards you. Fangs shining with intent. Chins glistening with spittle. Bodies evolved with one purpose in mind. Sorry, I digress…)
I believed that this would be the time that Australians stood up and protected our small businesses, or at least those allowed to remain open. I believed that our population would rally to support them wherever possible. I believed our communities would see these businesses not just survive this period, but perhaps even grow a little.
With some exceptions, this hasn’t been the case. The ‘open’ signs are on the doors – you just have to look. However, the people aren’t seeing them: or not enough are looking for them.
Open your eyes. Really open them. This is a time when our SMBs need us more than ever. Here’s a challenge for you – or a request, favour, call it whatever you like. Do a little bit of research and identify at least 10 SMBs are still open in your local area. Figure out which ones you can afford to support. And I’m not saying support them with a donation. Tyres starting to wear? Check out your local garage instead of the big players. You get the idea. Supporting our local businesses is vital as come through the other side and C-19 is beaten to a pulp, or at the very least restrained and neutered.
While Big Business continues to monopolise and manipulate the noise and media and through this economic tsunami, our communities are going to be put in a very uncomfortable position if its predominantly Big Business left standing while we dance through the streets singing ‘Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead’.
Which old Witch?