We’re not immune to employment issues here in Northland and one of the areas we frequently discuss at our peer board meetings is how to overcome the skills shortage in the region.

Employment issues are one of the top stressors for business owners in the small-to-medium sector, as identified in our Summer Pulse Check, and although Northland has managed to maintain a reasonable economic performance through the first stages of COVID19, our people shortage persists. One certainty we have is knowing that it helps to talk through such challenges with like-minded business owners – which is where The Alternative Board comes in.

Together, we’ve looked at solutions to the skills shortage ranging from partnerships with educational establishments, more apprenticeships and building company culture to sponsoring potential employees to help them gain the skills they need – and we are still exploring other initiatives that may help us bridge the gap.

As well as identifying the stressors, the Pulse Check discovered what would most help business owners get through this year – 43% said a chat with other business owners and specialist advice would be just the thing and is another area where working with a peer board provides a solution.

Big companies pay a board of directors to provide advice and solutions but private business owners don’t have that luxury – they have to figure things out by themselves which can be tough, stressful and quite lonely. The Alternative Board is exactly what it says it is – a small, confidential alternative to the traditional board of directors. In Northland, I bring together non-competing business owners and leaders who then work together to solve the challenges and opportunities we all face running our own business – whether that’s staffing, funding, cash-flow, sales, input costs – all the issues across all the sectors. I facilitate the groups and together we support, develop and grow our businesses, helping each other succeed.

To help people decide if this approach will help them, we run what’s called a ‘sample board’ – essentially a ‘try before you buy’ session – so if you would like to chew over some of Northland’s business challenges or drill down into the nitty-gritty of your business call me and let’s tackle the stressors together.

Business InsightsTackling the stressors – great minds make good progress
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