It’s the classic line being spoken by most politicians and businesspeople around the country, which is “small businesses are the backbone of the economy,”. However, speaking from experience as a SME and working with many small business owners, New Zealand can be poor at looking after its ‘so-called backbone’.
A recent article by MBIE explains just how difficult it is to grow a successful business from scratch, with a failure rate of approximately 96% of small businesses in the first two years of operation.
We are currently operating in an economy of two halves, whereby our primary and other main industries such as building, manufacturing and grocery, have fared reasonably well during the past two years of the pandemic, whilst the service and hospitality sector have been ravaged in terms of incomes and patronage.
Economic trends for the main industry leaders have been positive and export receipts have boomed. Most of the mainline economic news focuses on this sector and paints a healthy picture for an economy still struggling to shake-off the effects of COVID. However, it is also reporting like this that makes the current government look good. Meanwhile, the ‘secondary’ economy OR “backbone” is operating under a bushel, out of view, and doing it tough.
To help small business get back on its feet and regain much needed confidence, we require the narrative to change from one of fear, failure, uncertainty, subjectivity, and disruption, to that of recovery, sustainability, tenacity, innovation, courage, and that all important can-do attitude that reminds us of what success looks like.