Think Small First Competition for shoppers and small businesses!

From this Saturday 28 October until 10 December, Small Business Matters is running a state-wide shopper competition to help celebrate our small business sector.

Small businesses and shoppers are invited to get involved to encourage people to Think Small First!  By spending at least $10 at a participating small business and entering online, shoppers can go in the draw to win $2,000. (T&C’s apply).  Shoppers can locate their local participating small businesses at the Small Business Matters shopper map: –

Who doesn’t need that in the lead up to Christmas?

Below is a video of a recent Connect Event, Making Your Business Work For You, featuring a panel of small business owners on business plan preparation, steps for taking planned and unplanned leave, setting up a support network and maintaining a positive work/life balance.

The speakers included Benjamin Trinh from Life Ready Physio & Pilates, Helen Pow from The Little Posy Co., Brian Greedy from Brian Greedy Business Solutions, and facilitated by Kate Eccles from Bankwest.

They shared their unique insights and real life experiences. Some of the key takeaways from them were:

Key takeaways

On the challenges for small business owners

“I often ask companies, ‘what was your purpose of going into business?’. You typically get a response that it was to make money and to have a better lifestyle, but then the next question is, ‘how is that going?’. Quite often it’s the lifestyle which is disappearing.” – Brian

On the benefits of taking time off

“Having that time off to step away made me realise that I don’t necessarily need to be in charge of the day to day. That freed me up to step back and work more on the business plan and strategy.” – Helen

On setting habits to take time off

“I have a routine that I take July off every year during my birthday to reflect and think and I’ve been doing that since I was 14 years old. I was 22 and I thought, ‘I can’t do it this year because I have the business’. But I thought, ‘no, I am setting a precedent here. If the business is going to dictate my life, that’s going to be a precedent I am setting.’ I came back (from time off) and the business still existed, and I learnt a lot from that experience.” – Ben

“You need to stand back and ask yourself, ‘what’s the business about and is the business there to build a better life for you?’. If you agree with that, then you can ask yourself, ‘how can you be creative about taking some time off, how do I schedule that?’. – Brian

On creating a positive work/life balance

“Work/life balance is a myth, there’s just life. The reality is you have to work on alignment between the two.” – Ben

“I can’t see too many people, when they are very old and grey and ill, saying, ‘my only regret was that I didn’t spend more time in the business’.” – Brian

On hiring good support staff

“Make sure you have a good job description so that they are clear on what their role is and there is no confusion.” – Helen

“I tell all our partners that the most important decision that you’re going to make is the first person you hire, because that’s the person who is going to be there when you need help.” – Ben

“Hire on attitude and train on skills, that’s always worked for me.” – Brian

On finding a mentor

“I’d like to think that most small businesses would have a mentor. They don’t necessarily need to know the ins and outs of your business, but they can provide an objective view about business.” – Brian.

On promoting and upskilling staff

“She had that drive that I felt she wanted to take on that extra responsibility, and she really understood what we were trying to do and what the brand represented.” – Helen

“We have also built a training pipeline where we identify future leaders in our business and train them.” – Ben

On creating managing procedures for staff

“You do get to a point where you feel like you’re just a checklist monkey. You have got to make room for autonomy and innovation and that entrepreneurial spirit.” – Ben

On being able to delegate work

“You can’t do it on your own, you need people, you need processes, and you need courage in yourself to hand over trust to those people.” – Ben

“A lot of small business people have got into a routine of non-stop work. They can’t delegate, they can’t move it on to anyone else, they are just stuck.” – Brian

“I have some really great, loyal staff. One in particular who I thought was really across everything in the business. I promoted her to manager. She took that on wholeheartedly and just ran the show while I was away.” – Helen

On developing a business plan

“Most small business owners have their plan in their head, but that isn’t enough.” – Brian

“I find when you have personal clarity, it helps with your business plan a lot. Because otherwise, the business plan is just, ‘make a lot of money’ or ‘grow big’.” – Ben

“What do you want personally and how does the business fit with that?” – Helen