Australian capital cities are becoming increasingly less affordable to live in and it’s little wonder…
What Big City Business Can Learn From Regional Business
Based in Far North Queensland (FNQ) I regularly provide mobile consultancy services across the region of Cairns and its adjacent rural areas. As an experienced Speech Pathology Vocal Coach, I am zealous about assisting my business clients with their voice strengths and weaknesses.
A typical day for me starts with an obligatory long black in my travel mug to sip on as I require caffeine revival whilst driving around this vast footprint of FNQ. I receive frequent phone calls requesting urgent visits which I squeeze into my schedule in between my regular clients, meetings, webinars, emails and my social media interaction in my home office after 6 pm.
Ten years ago, after working in the United Kingdom and various parts of Australia, my spiritual voice guided me on my journey to this wonderful part of Australia which we call ‘paradise’ and I have never regretted this obedient leap of faith. I was keen to live in a new place with the thrill of learning a new Australian culture, meeting new people (not attracted by the hustle and bustle of big cities) and to enjoy everything the region had to offer.
The rhythm of our business cadence in the FNQ region is uniquely different from metropolitan areas for example:
- I travel significant distances each week without encountering comparable traffic jams (apart from dry weather road works), to see clients. I use this driving time productively to make important phone calls via Bluetooth, reflect, evaluate and plan my client sessions as well as taking the opportunity to mind-map ideas to take the Allied Health profession to a higher level.
- I have at least one coffee meeting a day with a health colleague to develop and maintain genuine, personal and professional working relationships.
- Our local community clients expect us to answer our phones immediately or return phone calls or text messages within 15 minutes and to see those with urgent issues on the same day. This is in comparison to a much longer timeframe in metropolitan areas, for example, one National Corporate Service Organisation in Melbourne finds it acceptable to have their clients seen within ten days.
Let’s also name a few challenges which we encounter when we work in the FNQ foot print:
- Our population is increasing substantially and has a transient nature.
- We have reduced access to experienced specialists hence when our clients require specialist input our clients often need to travel to Brisbane for these services.
- The internet connectivity isn’t reliable with many black spots encountered when travelling around and the NBN transition is not smooth.
- The risk of feeling isolated.
- We have slow & limited access to resources.
- The workforce issues such as attracting and retaining valuable staff.
- Our final challenge is to be a paladin in advocating and altering regional mindsets and antiquated expectations.
All is not morose as there are many rewarding aspects to share with you:
- Our lifestyle is amazing, impacted by a perfect climate for eight months of the year, allowing us to enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities on the weekends (in a community which still values not working after hours!)
- Our close connectedness with a small community of like-minded people who actively support our innovative business ventures.
- The future of business in FNQ will be impacted significantly by the internet, accelerated tourism projects, population growth and programs such as the Young Entrepreneurs Project which is funded federally and targets budding young entrepreneurs.
My loud shout out to you is to consider applying these regional principles to your business wherever you are located:
- Network, network, network.
- Add the personal touch to your interactions e.g. a nice to meet you email after meeting people for the first time and handwritten birthday cards for your clients.
- Nurture your working relationships to a closer level over regular coffee or lunch meetings.
- Research the backgrounds of your clients before your first meeting and share with them your learnings with some sparks of curiosity and interest.
- Lift your business service operational standards such as a decreasing your response time frames to their communications via their preferred mode of communication.
- Mentor young entrepreneurs in your field of expertise with a small investment of your time.
- Strategise with your colleagues how together you can address workforce issues affecting your business.
- Add diversity to your skill-set by taking on regional clients or a contract here in the Far North as it will be an unforgettable enriching experience.
Regional business has its quirks, but it also has a few great traits that big city businesses could implement in their own businesses to improve their business relationships.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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