The Christmas New Year holidays give us time to relax and often consider what we will do in the year ahead. Many are returning to work and looking to undertake study to improve career prospects, change jobs or improve a business. You may be looking to set up a new business or expand an existing one. Talk to us at the Business Growth Centre to discuss your training options and take a look at our available offices and light industrial sheds. Could be just what you are looking for to start 2019.
Dear colleagues and members,
With a heavy heart, we announce with great sadness the loss of one of the longest standing Board Members at the Business Growth Centre, Gordon Hughes. We are deeply saddened to announce that Gordon Hughes passed away yesterday.
Gordon’s brilliance, passion, and energy were the source of countless business opportunities that enrich and improve all our lives. His enthusiasm to serve and deep love for the Business Growth Centre will be remembered forever.
Our hearts go out to all his family and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this sad time. Rest in peace Gordon.
Chief Executive Officer
Business Growth Centre
Photo: Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards – 2017 Gala Dinner // Business Growth Centre – Board Members.
A study into small business and mental health conducted by Everymind has revealed people working in the small business sector may be more likely to be affected by poor mental health than the general population.
In response to research findings, the institute is now developing a new digital hub to promote wellbeing among small business owners, employees, and their families.
Everymind Director, Jaelea Skehan said the survey of small business owners sends a very clear message that there is an immediate need to prioritise the mental health and well-being of small business.
“The focus will be on assisting small businesses to identify their specific needs and to easily access evidence-based resources and support services to meet those needs.”
The new digital hub will provide access to small business and mental health programs, services, information, and training. It will also offer screening tools to help identify specific needs of small business owners and their employees and provide tailored options for support. The project, funded by the icare foundation, will be co-designed by small businesses in NSW.
Everymind is now calling small business owners and anyone working in small business in Lake Macquarie to share their thoughts on ways to ensure the new digital hub being developed is meaningful and provides the appropriate suite of information and resources to support small business.
Everymind is a national institute that develops programs and translational research dedicated to reducing mental ill-health and suicide and improving wellbeing.
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With just 10 days until Christmas Eve, we thought it would be a good idea to share some last minute tips to help small businesses survive the festive season.
It is not too late to make the most of this time of year, so join us in counting down these final days to Christmas with of our top tips.
Last Minute Sales and Services
It would be great to get our Christmas shopping done and dusted well before mid-December, but for many of us, this just doesn’t happen. This is good news for you. As a small business owner, you can utilise this ‘rush period’ to promote your Christmas specials and entice customers to buy. If you’re not a retailer, why not use this time to promote a service that could help your customers get through the Christmas period. We are all looking for something that will help us tie this time of year up in a nice little bow, so think of what you can offer and get promoting.
Spread Some Christmas Spirit
What better way is there to thank your customers, clients and suppliers, then with a nice end of year thank you? Christmas is all about giving, so make sure you give thanks to all those who have supported you throughout the year. If they know they are appreciated, they are more likely to shop or work with you in 2017.
The Season for Social Media
Most people are getting into the Christmas spirit by now so this is a great time to use your social media platforms to engage with customers. We all know that social media is an excellent, low-cost way to communicate with customers on a more emotional level and build a brand personality. So why not use this time of year have a bit of fun, share your personality and bring your customers a bit of Christmas cheer?
Stress Free Summer Holiday
As a small business owner you are used to wearing multiple hats and it can be hard to take them off and just relax. However, spending time with friends and family and having the chance to properly relax and unwind is important both mentally and physically. To take the stress and worry out of taking a well-deserved break, make a plan of what you need to do to enable you to fully enjoy your time off. Prioritise tasks and consider what can be delegated and out-sourced. You and your business will benefit.
Christmas Customer Service
With an increase in the number of customers coming through your door (virtual or real), this is your time to shine on the service front. As more and more of your customers become stressed about their Christmas purchases or what they need to do before Christmas day, it is essential that you remain calm and courteous. If you have people other than yourself answering phones or replying to emails, make sure they are all fully briefed on the importance of offering excellent customer service. If you can continue to serve your customer efficiently and professionally over the Christmas period then it will only reflect positively on your business in the future.
Santa’s Little Helpers
Be prepared for the last minute Christmas rush by having the staff you need on hand. This will not only help you with the previous tip (Christmas Customer Service), but it will take some pressure off you during this busy time.
Out of Office
This one may be obvious to some, but make sure you clearly communicate your Christmas trading hours and close down periods to your customers. If you aren’t going to be answering emails or calls at all over the Christmas period, make sure you have an out of office message on your website, email and voicemail. Let customers know your business is closed and when you are going to be able to respond.
Have a Merry Christmas and Enjoy Your Break
Finally, we just want to wish you a happy and safe Christmas. Running a small business can be hugely rewarding but with long hours it can be all-consuming. So switch off and enjoy some time out.
Exciting innovation, opportunities for growth, encouraged investment – is this the future for our region? Todd Williams, CEO of Regional Development Australia Hunter, knows the potential of our region and will share his thoughts on the future competitive advantages of the Hunter at the next Lake Macquarie Business Network event.
The first of the breakfast events for 2016 will be held at Belmont 16s on Friday 11 March from 7am and will provide Lake Macquarie and Newcastle business owners with the chance to network, boost their business profile and join a conversation about the future opportunities for business growth.
The Lake Macquarie Business Network was conceived by the Business Growth Centre and involves bi-monthly networking events designed to generate business growth. Following the successful launch in October last year, the Network will continue to provide an opportunity for attendees to connect with like-minded business people as well as gain valuable insights into the city in which they operate, business ideas and innovations.
Brett Gleeson, Manager of the Business Growth Centre, explained; “the Business Growth Centre is pleased to be able to present speakers at the Lake Macquarie Business Network events who impart valuable information on a variety of interesting and relevant topics. The attendees at the events can use this information to not only grow their knowledge, but to discover ways to improve and build their business.”
“At our first event for the year, Mr Williams will discuss the Hunter’s value proposition, the cost of doing business and opportunities for Lake Macquarie; all of which are perfect for business owners to gain an understanding of where the region sits and how they can move forward.”
The 2016 Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards will be launched at this breakfast event and Mr Gleeson believes that when talking about the future for business, it is pertinent to reference current achievements:
“When we think about cultivating a future of growth and innovation, we think about the number of businesses that are already inventing, growing and striving for excellence in our region. It is with this in mind that we are pleased to be launching the 2016 Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards following Mr Williams’ presentation. “
Click here to secure your seat at the next breakfast.