July has been a busy month so far, especially for my small business portfolio.
On Monday 5th July I hosted a Smart Business breakfast in Christchurch. It was a cosy meeting (despite the frosty morning!) at the ‘Under the Red Verandah’ cafe with a diverse bunch of people including representatives from the renewable energy sector, coffee roasting industry and even an open source software consultant. Last Friday morning I hosted another breakfast for Wellington small business owners in the Southern Cross bar and restaurant. Again, another success with a range of industry leaders and business sectors coming along, including local councillors, an architect, solicitors, a theatre director and an osteopath.
As I meet with more small to medium enterprise (SME) owners and industry leaders many themes are coming to the forefront. Of course, compliance costs are a biggie for all those involved in business but focusing in on which compliance cost is causing the most stress is a heated topic. Tax (especially the looming GST rise to 15%), IRD, staff holidays and ACC seem to keep steering the conversation. As does the question of who should or is responsible for supporting the SME industry – is it central government? Local government? Regional councils? Or even the SMEs themselves through cooperatives or clusters?
How SMEs access information is evolving too, with the realms of social networking being used more and more to keep abreast of government announcements and changes to current legislation, and also to communicate with customers, co lleagues and even competitors. The business world is changing rapidly and there is clearly value in the Greens lobbying government to ensure SMEs are not only supported, but remembered when making big decisions.
It will be interesting to see if these themes arise strongly throughout the rest of the country. In the coming month we’re hoping to be in Waitakere City and Nelson. Let us know if you’re keen to attend either event.
To top it off we’ve had over 70 SME owners complete our online survey, we’re hoping to reach 100 before August so please fill it out if you own or are involved in the operation of an SME (20 or less employees) or pass on to anyone you know who is.