In my former life as a corporate lawyer, most of my life involved big corporations and large scale mergers and acquisitions. Small business wasn’t really on my radar as a consumer and whether I shopped at major retailers or shopped at local, smaller businesses was more of a haphazard choice based on convenience at the time. However, the radical (and happily accidental) transition sparked when we founded Matcha Maiden and then Matcha Mylkbar. It threw us head first into the wonderful world of small business and opened our eyes to the importance and impact of shopping small. As a merchant AND as a consumer, our focus has changed dramatically in the way we shop and we haven’t looked back.
As you will have heard me say over and over, I have united all my passions, strengths and dreams in starting a small business and feel I am now truly seizing my yay. While it’s not everyone’s piece of cake, research from American Express has revealed that 36% of Australians would also be interested in starting a small business, which could contribute an estimated $167 billion to the economy each year!!! The main reasons Aussies want to start small businesses is because they like the idea of controlling their own destiny, feeling more fulfilled, and earning a living from something they are interested in – all boxes which I can safely say have been ticked on my personal journey over the past few years and I LOVE helping others do the same in any way that I can (if you need a pep talk any time, I’m your woman). However, 39% of Aussie small business owners have ideas, plans and visions they are yet to implement, despite believing these would grow their business…
And so returns one of the themes I encounter over and over on the podcast, on the speaking circuit and in day-to-day life as a small business owner – the barriers, real and perceived, to seizing your yay (or the “nay to yay” as I call them). How scary to think that such a big number of business owners DON’T act on plans even though they know it would be fruitful! You’ll have heard me bang on and on about the perceived barriers, particularly self-doubt, that form part of the rollercoaster of small business and how important it is to create a routine and support network that help you counter these. But on top of that, there are very tangible factors restricting business growth too like increased costs and overheads, cash flow restraints and the current state of the Australian economy that American Express research has revealed are costing the Australian economy $93.8 billion annually!
Shopping small is not only great because of the delightful personal touches and local relationships you can form. But it also makes economic sense to be a conscious shopper and support your local small businesses whenever you can (we appreciate it SO much!). They form the fabric and personalities of our local communities and, as you can tell from the podcast, I love uncovering the wonderful stories and founders behind each small business. Our partner in YAY, American Express, runs the amazing Shop Small initiative each November to encourage us all to support small businesses in Australia. It was an honour to be involved in this year’s Love Where You Live campaign shining a light on a few local heroes. But it’s not just November that counts, let’s Shop Small from November and BEYOND especially with the festive season coming up!!! If you need any pointers, you can scroll through the list of Shop Small merchants here to find hot spots in your area. Let’s do this!