Adapting to external factors quickly helps find growth

Depending on which day you read this, the world is likely to be very different than the day before. Adapting to these moment by moment changes for small businesses has become paramount to survival. Customer sentiment is changing rapidly, marketing is not set and forget. People are looking to #buylocal – and often they cannot find what’s available.

Growth is often not on the agenda – yet we have found that as we work closely with our Experience Partners in all aspects of the marketing mix, from product design, pricing and of course promoting their offering to the right audience, it has delivered good commercial results for our Partners.

We are continuing to work on both short and long term initiatives to build sustainability with our partners.

One of my colleagues Rebecca Madden, interviewed one of our Experience Partners, The Green Olive based on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula about their journey, and i thought there was much that other businesses could learn from their experience.


Case Study on being Agile

One of the Big Red Group’s valued small business suppliers, Green Olive at Red Hill, was forced to adapt when faced with uncertainty that we all find ourselves in. Sue & Greg O’Donoghue kindly answered a few question so we could  find out more about how social distancing and lockdown changed the way they do business, and what they did to respond.

Q: Tell us a bit about your business

We founded Green Olive in 2002, at the time, both of us were living and breathing the corporate Melbourne life, with two young kids. We decided on a tree change and settled on making the move to the Mornington Peninsula.

Green Olive at Red Hill is the whole farm experience. We grow olives, grapes, herbs and veggies, raise sheep and chooks, and use fresh produce from local farmers to create a range of tapas, wine and even body products. We also have a Restaurant/Cellar Door with farm tapas and wine menu available every day from 9am until 4pm, plus coffee and dessert until 5pm.

Q: Why did you start Green Olive?

We love bringing the goodness of locally grown food and wine to others and wanted our farm to be a place where people could come to learn more about locally sourced and produced cuisine.

After experiencing what a positive impact this lifestyle had on our lives, we wanted to create something others could enjoy with us.

Q: How did COVID-19 affect your business?

Our business was completely shut down from the 22 March until 3 June 2020.

We kept our staff on thanks to the JobKeeper program, and while we were in a state of hibernation and unable to entertain guests, we focused on improving facilities while pivoting and expanding our range.

Q: What did you do to respond?

Together, we were able to complete a huge amount of farm work, bringing that high-quality right across our property, and we established our new Bush Food Garden and our Hops garden. Our son Sam also took the opportunity to set up a brewing operation. We’ve launched Kelpie Brewing which has begun brewing beer at the farm as well.

Hearing first hand about the day to day ‘small wins’ that businesses can have is a positive step to all local businesses. If you have a positive story on how you adapted and changed your business and would like to share it – please send my the details via the Contact Us page.

If you think you have an experience you would like to introduce to the RedBalloon audience please click here.

Also published on Medium.

Grow & Scale Your Business by Naomi Simson

Tell Naomi a little bit about your business by completing the questions below. (It will take less than 60 seconds)

Answering your #1 Biggest Business Challenge question tip: 

Go beyond just saying "Poor Cashflow" or "Unreliable Team". 

Instead, give Naomi details & specifics on how this is currently your #1 Biggest Business Challenge. 

I.e. "Every month I'm struggling to pay my bills on time because there just isn't consistent cash flow coming into the business. I've tried sticking to budgets in the past & pay myself less to keep some extra funds aside for emergencies, but still every month there seems to be another financial fire to be put out. I don't know what to do about it, so I'm just grinding it out."


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