Starting a Small Business:

What you need to know – August 2019

The small business sector is a vital part of the Australian economy. There are more than 2.2 million small businesses in Australia, with the sector accounting for half of Australia's workforce and making up one fifth of our GDP. With August traditionally being Small Business month, it was a great opportunity to bring together three speakers to share their experience and knowledge in the small business space. 

Panel Members:

Caroline McKinstry - Netgain
Catherine Dickson - Australia Post Small Business Hive
Samantha Krajina - Serial Entrepreneur, regular co-host on Bay FM and founder of Geelong Women in Business

Many times, you may have a business idea but you’re not sure what the next steps might be. The NEIS scheme might be an important next step for you. It is a self-employment program funded by the Australian Federal Government aimed at assisting unemployed people to explore the opportunities of self-employment as an alternative choice to gaining full time work. It helps participants to start a business with training, mentoring support for 12 months and income support for 9 months.
There are two programs offered by Netgain,

  • ‘Exploring being my own boss’ is a two week course aimed to support people who have a business idea or a dream of being their own boss. This workshop is fully subsidised.
  • The second program is the NEIS program. This seven week program is a Centrelink approved training program which will result in either a Certificate IV in Small Business or a Certificate III in Micro Business Operations.

You can contact either Jodi or Caroline at Netgain on 1800 356 400 or email to discuss your business idea and eligibility for either of these programs.

Caroline McKinstry is the Manager and NEIS Coordinator at Netgain. Caroline has worked for Netgain for the last nine years and has a wealth of knowledge in her field.

Catherine Dickson is the Postal Manager at Australian Post Small Business Hive. No organisation knows more about change than Australia Post, having restructured their business to change from delivering letters to delivering parcels, they also understand that the way we work is changing, so they are providing small business in Geelong the ability to change where we work too.
The Small Business Hive offers a bright and contemporary co-working space as well as range of mentoring, networking opportunities and business education workshops. Co-working is a great option for small businesses who can often feel isolated working alone, or quickly run out of space when working from home! The Hive offers a range of membership options and the facilities on offer include hot desks, meeting rooms, kitchen facilities, quiet booths, audio and visual equipment and printers.
Australia Post also provides a complete one-stop shop for all sending solutions for small businesses, whether you need to post locally or internationally.
Make sure you follow the Hive on Facebook to stay in touch with upcoming events or contact Catherine on (03) 5228 5524 to discuss co-working opportunities.
Samantha Krajina is a wife, mother of two, speaker, entrepreneur/investor and regular co-host on Bay FM. Samantha started her first business at the age of 17 and has grown from there. With a background in Accounting, Samantha has a sound knowledge in PR and Marketing, digital, events and much more. Samantha gave us quite a few tips on owning and running our own business. One of the best pieces of advice we took away from the workshop was “focus less on the solution”. Samantha’s advice is to focus on the problem, look at the problem your business will be solving and work on it from there. She gave us a fantastic anecdote of a small business she started pretty much one weekend, which was focused solely on mowing nature strips, to solve the problem that her neighbours did not have enough lawn to justify buying a lawn mower!
Sometimes it can feel like “everything I want to do, has already been done”, Samantha’s advice to overcome this mindset is to create something better. “The true meaning of innovation isn’t creating something new, it’s creating a better solution to the problem. Whether this be through being more cost effective or more environmentally friendly focusing on improving on what is available already”.
Samantha also spoke about the importance of having a neutral state of mind when approaching business decisions. By removing emotion, you are allowing yourself to be clear and open minded to make the best decisions for you and your business. Samantha encouraged us all to put ourselves out there and to make mistakes. Learn from the failures and the mistakes and grow from them, accepting them is part of the journey.
Samantha is also the founder of Geelong Women in Business which is an informal group that comes together when a speaker is found or for a purpose where Samantha sees a gap. Follow their Facebook page to know what’s coming up.
Successfully running a small business takes considerable knowledge and skill as well as a very high degree of commitment and hard work. Hopefully the panel today has helped you work out where to find advice and support as well as find out about what events and seminars are happening near you and what networks you can tap in to, to help you on your journey.
Here are some links to other useful websites;
Small Business Victoria helps businesses to plan, start and grow by providing information and assistance, expert business advice and low cost and local skills workshops.
Whether you are looking to start or grow your business locally, the Economic Growth unit at Council is a great place to start. Their website will give you an overview of the services and support that the Economic Growth team can provide.

Posted: 16/09/2019 3:33:38 PM



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