It is time for an economic uplift for rural Australia
I read with interest that ‘Post-COVID, Australians go back to grassroots’; ‘The regions offer brighter post-COVID futures, predicts demographer Bernard Salt’.
Salt’s article goes to great lengths to speak of the ongoing and persistent positivity of those who live outside of metropolitan Australia. And it is not just the current remote working shift of 2020 that has created this resilience.
“But across the balance of the decade other factors will coalesce to affect the regions, including the downshifting of baby boomers out of the city into lifestyle towns; the impact of new technology such as the National Broadband Network combined with a greater tendency to work from home; and a rising concern about the risks and costs associated with a big-city lifestyle.
The job losses across regional Australia have been proportionately less than in the capital cities. It just may mean that regional Australia is more business-ready to recover from the shutdowns.
And to some extent, hasn’t that always been the story of regional, rural and remote Australia? It is the irrepressible capacity to keep going, to recover, to rebuild and perhaps to be helped along in this process on this occasion by favourable demographic winds. Building a stronger Australia includes building stronger regions.”
I can attest to this – having been working with three founders of great businesses – all of which are located in rural Australia. After drought, dust, smoke, bushfires and pandemic – the level of optimism and opportunity that I exude is ‘infectious’ (perhaps not a word I should be using right now).
All of them operate market places that have the possibility to scale.
The first part of the program was about getting their business foundations right by looking at vision, purpose, values, systems and technology. We talked about leading using our enate strengths and how to scale the team. It was relatively inwardly focussed. We reviewed and fine-tuned the things that were in their control
Since working with each business over the last three months or so, the economic landscape continues to change. Where we work and how we work has shifted.
The second part of the program was externally focussed, and looked at how to scale both sides of the Lenovo ThinkBook mentees’ business. I asked each of them a similar question ‘who else is already talking to your customers?’ I know from my own experience that the partnerships that we create at RedBalloon are meaningful, not just to us, but also to our customers.
The cost to acquire customers has not got any cheaper, in fact if anything, finding and keeping customers is harder than ever. Media of all kinds can be challenging to navigate. So finding partners that have a shared upside makes sense for smaller businesses looking to scale.
Whilst there is much discussion about the NBN network – what I know, and Bernard Salt confirms with his insights into the demographic shifts – is that rural, regional and remote Australia are set for an uplift. Consistent, reliable, and fast technology, such as the Lenovo ThinkBook, is critical to the success of Australian and New Zealand businesses, wherever they are based.
Working with each of the founders was a delight:each did the work, wrote the plans and said that they appreciated a moment to reflect on the bigger picture. We have now connected directly, and I continue to support them with introductions and insights. I am truly excited to see their own ‘uplift’.
Thank you, Lenovo for choosing me as your ambassador for 2020 – it is a privilege.
To find out more about the programme, and view the online session, please click here.
Also published on Medium.