After bushfires, floods, COVID-19 and more floods, Australian small businesses are still standing

Kara Cooper Mount Vic and Me

Mount Vic and Me founder Kara Cooper. Photo: Karen Edwards Photography.

I want to acknowledge something for so many of us right now in small business across Australia: we are still standing.

It’s been incredibly tough since October 2019. We’ve survived bushfires, floods, COVID-19, homeschooling, economic downturn, the cancellation of tradeshows, tourism struggles and now a doozy of a flood again in New South Wales.

I have spoken to friends in business on the Bells Line of Road on Mt Tomah in the Blue Mountains, which has a massive landslide and, late on Monday, was announced as closed for the ‘unforseeable future’. I cannot even fathom what this means for business and community there.

Bridges are under water. Communities are evacuating and livestock has been lost. People’s homes are damaged. People’s livelihoods are being damaged. Again. And again. And again.

So, Elton John’s fabulous song ‘I’m still standing’ is playing in my mind. But I feel so flat and so tired. Both my accountant and mentor said the same thing to me: “Kara, despite everything — you are still standing”.

still standing mount vic and me

An artwork designed by Mount Vic and Me founder Kara Cooper. Source: supplied.

I want to acknowledge my friends in business. The struggles that are being faced. The debt, the chaos, the hardship and the uncertainty.

You are doing an amazing job. You are doing so bloody well. And you are still standing.

And, for those that have lost their business, their livelihood and their beautiful spaces: you are still standing. I cannot wait to see what you do next. You are used to being self-employed and you understand how hard it is. You will re-emerge into something beautiful.

Small business owners need help

I’ve said this so many times. I wonder if someone out there will pay attention?

We need help.

We need an overarching approach to a national tourism marketing campaign, we need to stop individually pushing our social media posts and paying individually.

The tourism sector has been recognised as being slumped — so how do we ‘unslump’ it?

We need to stop treading water on our own, hold a neighbours’ hands either side and make our circle wider.

We need the expertise of a big media company to come tell us how to make this work.

Our noses are just above water and the waves are relentless.

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