Councils rely on their local business sector to generate jobs, invest in the local economy and support the industries like tourism that benefit their whole community. New Zealand Chambers of Commerce Northland strongly believe local government can make an important contribution to grow local economic activity by providing ‘business friendly’ services – responsive regulatory and consent regimes, low competitive rates – efficient infrastructure, positive promotion of the local area, attracting tourists and events. All this can contribute to making it easy for businesses to succeed.

Sometimes however it is not enough for businesses to rely solely on external agents to determine whether or not they are successful or whether or not the environment they operate in makes it easy for business. Every business has a responsibility and a role in creating a business friendly environment. The most obvious way they can influence this is by ensuring that they have the capability to operate at a level that demonstrates that they themselves are business friendly.

What business to business behaviour do they insist on that ensures that their business and others they deal with can succeed and grow? Knowing how your capability impacts on others can lead to a more successful business friendly environment. This could be as a result of understanding how your businesses cash cycle affects others within your supply chain. We all know what it is like when others are late in paying their accounts but do we always understand what role we play in this through timely invoicing, financial management and product delivery.

Having a level of business capability that ensures that staff have the training and environment to provide an excellent level of service to your customer base not only can ensure that your own business succeeds, it will also make your business-to-business customers chance of success all the better by ensuring they get the services and products they need to grow. On a wider level, a community of highly capable businesses can create more jobs, a better skilled workforce and a reputation as a place to invest or start a new enterprise.

Yes we still need outside agencies to do their part, but if we acknowledge the business owner is the one who benefits most from business success and more importantly is the one who has the most to lose if the business fails, then building business capability needs to be at the forefront of their thinking if they want to operate in an environment where business friendly is more than just a hollow phrase attached to a business plan.

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