ADVOCATE COLUMN 4th WEEK FEBRUARY 2017
Given that a vast majority of businesses in New Zealand are very small and that a big portion of these very small businesses don’t actually employ anyone, it is not difficult to see why isolation of the business owner may be as much of a contributing factor to business failure as the more obvious challenges a business may face. It can be lonely, you are often the sole decision maker, work long hours in an enterprise that requires all your attention and you may have no input from outsiders nor the peer support and engagement that can exist in medium sized businesses and large corporates. Another element that contributes to this isolation can by the blurred line between your work and the rest of your life particularly in businesses where both partners are involved.
There may be any number of causes of the isolation depending on the business owner’s circumstances and the nature of their enterprise. Luckily within Northland at varying scales, there are a range options that can be accessed to overcome this isolation and to gain the interaction with those necessary to help achieve your business aspirations. This interaction not only provides support and resources that are required in today’s business environment but gives validation that the business is heading in the right direction.
Three of the more obvious ways –but not only ways- are firstly by joining some sort of network of either formal or informal of others within the business community. This gives the business owner the opportunity to interact with those who may face the same day-to-day challenges, lead to more business and create relationships with other business owners. Secondly the business owner may wish to engage the services of a mentor who can meet with them, act as a sounding board and provide a different perspective from their own. Finally while not available everywhere in Northland yet, perhaps a shared work space might provide somewhere to nurture and grow a business until it can move to a more permanent location.
All that is required is for the business person to acknowledge they feel isolated and to seek out which option suits their needs best and then have the discipline to engage with the various support mechanisms that already exist within their business community. It should also be noted that the limited number of large businesses within the region also means that isolation and lack of peer support may also exist at executive level and this also needs to be addressed.