Photo: Pastrami & Rye.
You may have read one or two articles recently that suggest the economy isn’t going all that well. That a new C Word – a virus you hadn’t heard of just a few months ago – has thrown industries into turmoil and that thousands of New Zealanders are losing their jobs. That companies are folding and that a recession is on its way that will make the GFC look like a walk in the park.
Of course you have. It’s been nigh-on impossible to read anything else as our every waking second seems to be bombarded by updates, stats and predictions. As a country we have united together to take on COVID-19, and it thankfully seems as if the lockdown has made huge inroads in our battle against the virus.
As individuals and communities across the country we have come together in countless ways that have enabled people to get through this unprecedented challenge. Teddy bears have been put in windows for local kids, food and medicines have been delivered to vulnerable neighbours and the world is seeming like a much kinder place.
But now, as we contemplate the lessening of restrictions, our minds turn to the economy. To jobs. To incomes.
So who’s going to fix the economy?
There are two answers: 1. The Government and 2. You.
The Government’s role is obvious and in my opinion they are doing a great job thus far. They’ve been quick to act on fighting the virus which will hopefully be proven to mitigate the impact it could have had on us as a nation. They quickly acted to distribute funds directly to businesses and workers who had been impacted. They’re working hard to create infrastructure projects that will create jobs and supporting financial institutions to do the right things and keep vital funding flowing
But there’s only so much that the Government can do. The rest is down to business. But business isn’t some ethereal concept that excludes you. You are business. Whether as a business owner, worker or consumer, your actions and decisions dictate what happens next.
As a consumer, you have huge power. Your purchase decisions decide which businesses receive revenues and which don’t. You may choose to support local or buy off-shore, but be conscious and aware that your decisions matter.
A massive 97 percent of all New Zealand businesses are SMEs. These are often the ones most vulnerable to financial shocks like this one as they carry less capital and have less access to funding instruments that big businesses can use to weather economic storms. You have the ability to choose to support these companies – it is up to you.
So if you find it upsetting to hear of local businesses folding, and friends and relatives of yours losing their jobs, ask yourself what role you can play in changing this. At home, have a look through your bank statement and at work, look at your list of creditors.
You will be reading the list of businesses you choose to support with your investment in them. It matters where you choose to spend and who you choose to engage with. If you really want to make a difference, be conscious about where you spend and how you respond to businesses in this new world. Purchase with purpose.
At home, perhaps you should try to buy local where you can? At work, maybe look to support SMEs and those who might otherwise be struggling? Perhaps when you get a sales call or email from someone trying to earn a living, give them a chance and hear them out?
If you really want to make a difference, make your purchase decisions count. Let’s take Jacinda’s advice to be kind, apply it to business, and all do our part to keep New Zealand moving.
Ben Rose is CEO/Founder of revenue growth consultancy The Growery.