I was talking with one of the journalists at SmartCompany this week about some upcoming changes in parts of Australian business, and at the end he said: “I know you’ve been blogging for us for almost six years, just wanted to say thanks.”
And I replied: “It’s my pleasure.” And it is. I genuinely enjoy blogging to an audience of small and medium business owners.
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Well I left corporate life to try to back myself in a business. No training wheels, no treasury function in Melbourne or London or New York. Just your own money to fund it and a need to grow your business through people. Your partners, employees, suppliers and customers.
On the way I gained a huge amount of knowledge, and almost lost all my family’s wealth we’d built up over the previous 14 years of my corporate career. I was fortunate to be surrounded by great people, at different points along that journey, and they and their calmness and wisdom helped me through the darkest days of almost failing, to running and selling a successful business. I stopped working full time five months ago, and am now chairing CROSSMARK, have once again started my own small business, and am coaching and mentoring small to medium businesses.
Last week I presented to about 200 small business owners in retail in Melbourne. At the end, around 20 owners stayed back and we talked about the challenges in their businesses, and the opportunities ahead. And there are plenty of opportunities; it’s just that most of the mainstream media focuses on the downside of the large business sector – the big companies that face not growth challenges, but declining markets or increased competition challenges. They have little choice but to downsize or restructure, usually with job losses. But where do all those people go after 15 to 20 years of working for large companies? I’ll get to that.
SmartCompany doesn’t focus on the big downs. It tends to attract writers and bloggers who want to pass on not just knowledge but also a more optimistic, realistic even, view of the business environment.
So here’s the thing. Almost every economic forecasting body, business or government-funded report coming out of the OECD countries states that the SME sector will be the engine of growth around the world for the next 10 years. MIT University in the US released a study that said only three things could prevent SMEs from thriving:
- their ability to plan for growth;
- the skills to attract, train and retain good people; and
- an understanding of, and access to, funding models that suit their needs.
Growth, people and funding.
So where will all these people who leave downsizing large companies go? Well, like me, and like many, many SmartCompany readers, they will either buy into or start their own business. Or they will work for a growing SME. And be part of the engine of growth for Australia, and the world, for the next decade. Exciting group of people to be around. That’s why I like to blog for SmartCompany.
Kevin Moore is a retail expert and the chairman of Crossmark Asia-Pacific Holdings.