Warm up your winter – take the Pulse Check and inform government policy

Warm up your winter – take the Pulse Check and inform government policy

It’s time for our Winter Pulse Check which means it’s time for you to tell us how you are and, in the process, take the opportunity to inform government policy.

Our quarterly Pulse Check is designed to track the progress of small to medium businesses and their owners. You keep your business going and we are here to keep you, the business owner, on track, motivated and equipped to cope in our current times.

Your insights ensure we continue to have the right resources to help you and, by listening to and understanding your perspectives, we can better support your needs. We also make your views heard by sharing your perspective with Government and policy makers who have shown a keen interest in what you have to say.

Last month, Hon. Stuart Nash, Minister for Small Business said of The Alternative Board’s Pulse Check series: “I find them invaluable. My thanks go to members for participating. It informs a lot of what we are doing and gives us insights we wouldn’t otherwise have”.

Now, as we arrive at the mid-winter mark, it is your turn to let us know how things are. You’ll find the Winter Pulse Check here and you can let us know how you are managing, the challenges and opportunities you face, and what would help you and your business in the months ahead.

The survey will be live until 1 August 2021 with the results available soon after.

If you would like to watch Stuart Nash talking about the Pulse Check you can do that here – https://thealternativeboard.co.nz/pulse-check-findings-inform-government-policy/ – and you can also review earlier results here.

Stressed?  You’re not alone.  Time to seek support.

Stressed? You’re not alone. Time to seek support.

There’s no doubt that the shifting economic sands are eroding resilience among business owners.

Insights from our members show that mental wellbeing has suffered immensely with owners feeling increased stress while running their enterprises. Many business owners are exhausted, anxious and living in a constant state of uncertainty which is undermining mental health. Instead of leading their business, members report they are back working on day-to-day operations, existing on disrupted sleep, taking fewer holidays and increasingly disconnected from their family and friends.

This is not a good state of affairs – and not one that is sustainable in any shape or form. COVID19 has affected everyone in some way and over the last eighteen months we’ve observed some sectors thrive while others have unravelled. Now we are starting to see the longer-term impact of COVID on businesses that have worked long and hard to keep going but with owners who are beginning to feel the heat of rapid change and relentless challenges.

Our regular Pulse Check monitors the wellbeing of business owners and we’ve seen how stressors such as employment issues, skills shortages, rising input prices and shipping delays have increased pressure on the small to medium business sector.

My message to you today is to reach out for support. You can’t take care of your businesses if you don’t take care of yourself. Our members have said they wouldn’t have got through this period without the help of other business owners in The Alternative Board network and they’ve been actively encouraging others to follow their lead and help each other.

Members report that pre-COVID, their confidence was high, they were able to lead their businesses, sleep was regular and they were connected and present when with their families and friends. Today, their state has shifted to feelings of anxiety, they are back working in the business, dealing with constant uncertainty with their sleep disrupted and fearful of the next challenge.

So don’t neglect your own wellbeing – if the business owner isn’t right, the business won’t be right either. We’re in for a long haul yet so get proper support in place. If you have been struggling through on your own – stop. Have an informal chat with us, come and see a board in action and how business owners like you help each other tackle challenges, solve problems and find ways to ease the pressure. You don’t have to do this on your own.

Head to Head with Hon. Stuart Nash – Pulse Check findings inform Government Policy

Head to Head with Hon. Stuart Nash – Pulse Check findings inform Government Policy

Minister for Small Business Hon. Stuart Nash took time out to discuss The Alternative Board’s Autumn Pulse Check with Wayne Baird and offer advice and insights for business owners and members. In a wide ranging conversation – which you can watch below – they covered some of the main stressors highlighted in the most recent Pulse Check including port and shipping delays, employment issues, and other challenges.

Minister Nash said: “I find them invaluable. My thanks go to members for participating (in The Alternative Board Pulse Checks). It informs a lot of what we are doing and gives us insights we wouldn’t otherwise have”.

Hon. Stuart Nash is Minister for Economic and Regional Development, Small Business, Forestry and Tourism. He spoke with Wayne Baird, owner of The Alternative Board, Hawkes Bay.

Confidence and motivation fraying for some SMEs, survey shows

Confidence and motivation fraying for some SMEs, survey shows

Article by Marta Steeman – Senior Reporter – Stuff Limited

The stresses and strains of handling Covid-19 disruption is taking its toll on the confidence and motivation of a good chunk of small businesses, a new survey shows.

The Alternative Board’s Pulse Check Autumn 2021 shows business confidence is still high among 46 per cent of the 271 member and associates who responded to the survey but a substantial chunk, 39 per cent, are “just ok” and have no room for more lockdowns.

The Alternative Board is a business development, coaching and mentoring organisation for small to medium-sized businesses and has about 300 members here. There are about 15 franchise operators around the country.

The Alternative Board North Canterbury managing director Steve Wilkinson​ said the Covid aftershocks of shipping delays, higher prices and difficulty finding suitable staff seemed to be fraying the high levels of confidence reported in the summer.

Continue reading on Stuff

Article first published in Stuff 14 May 2021.

Confidence and motivation fraying for some SMEs, survey shows

Covid Aftershocks and Supply Chain Woes Rattle Motivation

The Autumn Pulse Check is out – and it looks like business owners are getting tired and their motivation is starting to erode.

The COVID aftershocks – shipping delays, higher prices, employment issues and other disruptions – seem to be fraying the high levels of confidence reported in the summer and the deepening issues are nudging small businesses back towards operational urgency.

Confidence is still high and flexibility and innovation continue to underpin progress. Business owners have invested in technology, employed more people and increased wages but for some, the motivation to continue is getting harder to find as they juggle the many demands they face.

The Pulse Check shows the top stressors – escalating input costs, lack of sales, port and supply problems – are adding to their woes. Problems with working capital are starting to emerge with late payers and other difficulties in evidence.

We’ve seen a definite shift in the number of small businesses experiencing difficulty with their working capital and expressing growing concern that sales volumes won’t last – looking and planning ahead is as challenging as it was last year.

The New Zealand-Australia travel bubble has had no reported impact on business as yet – for better or worse. Government policy, mainstream media and a slow vaccine rollout are reducing confidence levels for some while the availability of vaccines, easing of border restrictions and government policy increase confidence for others.

You can download the full results here and access all the Pulse Checks here.

The Alternative Board conducted the Autumn Pulse Check with 271 members and associates between April 30 – May 7 2021 with a confidence level of 90% and a 5% margin of error.

Are we heading towards a winter of discontent?

Are we heading towards a winter of discontent?

Shipping delays, rising input prices, employment issues – you flagged them all and your insights into business challenges – and opportunities – have been shared with Government. Now it’s time for another Pulse Check to see how you’ve fared in the first quarter of the year and where you see things going as we head towards our second COVID winter.

The Autumn Pulse Check is now live and you can access it here http://bit.ly/AutumnPulseCheck. Your response provides accurate information as to the current health and outlook for businesses.

The thinking behind our quarterly Pulse Check is simple — you keep your business going and we are here to keep you, the business owner, on track and equipped to cope in our current times.

Your insights ensure we continue to have the right resources to help you and, by listening and understanding your perspectives, we can better support your needs.

We also make your views heard by sharing your perspective with Government and policy makers who have shown a keen interest in what you have to say – for example, the results from our first quarter Pulse Check were discussed in detail with Small Business Minister Hon. Stuart Nash and your insights will be presented to him again once the results are in.

The link to the survey is here http://bit.ly/AutumnPulseCheck so please, do tell us how you are, how you’re managing and how you’re feeling about the future. As a thank you, when you’ve finished the short survey — it takes just a few minutes — you can enter the draw for a complimentary business coaching session.

You can access results from last year’s Pulse Checks here on our website.

Pulse Check