Wednesday 05, Jun 2024

CEO June Message

Investing in Growth During Tough Economic Times

This week the Fair Work Commission increased the minimum wage by 3.75%. Whilst the decision won’t necessarily have a high impact on inflation, it does add to the bottom line costs of doing business.

As we navigate through these tougher and more challenging economic times, business leaders are seeking innovative ways to invest in themselves, their business, and their employees; and the Geelong Chamber of Commerce will continue to bring forth opportunities for overcoming these challenges and seizing growth opportunities.

Challenges Faced

Economic downturns bring about a multitude of challenges: decreased consumer spending, tightening credit markets, and increased operational costs. Businesses may face reduced revenue, necessitating difficult decisions about resource allocation. Employees, too, feel the strain, often dealing with job insecurity and heightened stress levels.

A recent report presented by illion, one of Australasia’s leading consumer and commercial credit bureaus, shows business failure risk has increased by almost 6.5% since the beginning of 2023. Deterioration in business conditions has led to worsening business activity.

For businesses owners that are navigating the troubled waters with success, there are consistent themes for how they are approaching growth, which any business leader who wants to pull away from the challenging tides should be considering right now and adopting.


Strategies for Growth

Invest in Leadership Development: Leaders must continually develop their skills to navigate turbulent times effectively. Investing in leadership training, mentorship, and executive coaching can provide the necessary tools to make informed decisions and inspire teams. Understanding modern leadership approaches, such as transformational and adaptive leadership, can significantly impact how challenges are addressed. The Geelong Chamber’s Executive Leadership Academy has been educating leaders on these over recent months working through real-time scenarios.

Focus on Innovation: Innovation is key to staying competitive. Encouraging a culture of creativity within your organisation can lead to new products, services, and processes that meet changing market demands. Consider allocating resources to research and development, even if it means tightening budgets elsewhere.

Prioritise Employee Well-being: Your employees are your greatest asset. Investing in their well-being through mental health support, flexible working arrangements, and professional development opportunities can enhance morale and productivity. An engaged workforce is more likely to contribute to the company’s growth and success.

Leverage Technology: Technology can streamline operations and open new avenues for growth. Embrace digital transformation by investing in tools that enhance efficiency and customer experience. From cloud computing to AI-driven analytics, the right technology can provide a significant competitive edge.


Leveraging the Geelong Chamber of Commerce

The Geelong Chamber of Commerce offers a wealth of resources to support businesses during tough economic times. As a member, you gain access to a network of like-minded professionals, valuable insights through seminars and workshops, and advocacy on key issues affecting the local business community.

We provide platforms for collaboration, helping businesses to share knowledge and resources. Our focus on economic development initiatives aims to create a conducive environment for business growth. By participating in chamber activities and programs, businesses can stay informed about market trends, policy changes, and funding opportunities.

While economic downturns present significant challenges, they also offer opportunities for growth and innovation. By investing in leadership, prioritising employee well-being, embracing innovation, and leveraging the resources provided by the Geelong Chamber of Commerce, business leaders can navigate these tough times and emerge stronger.

Together, we can build a resilient and thriving business community in Geelong.

The upcoming Geelong Small Business Festival will be a 2-week festival or learning, education and development with over 100 EOIs received from businesses wanting to exhibit and/or host an event.

The program goes live on July 1st 2024 with full details on all events available throughout August.


Jeremy Crawford

CEO, Geelong Chamber of Commerce