With tensions between the US and China reaching breaking point, the effects of the incipient trade war are sure to be felt globally, especially between superpowers of this scale. Supply chains across the Asia Pacific region are sure to be disrupted, with Australia undoubtedly going to feel the sting, and when trade sanctions threaten Australian interests, it is natural to want to protect our on-shore businesses.
Obviously, the vast majority have little influence over international policy creation, but there are some things we can do to help Australian businesses compete at home and abroad.
Buy Australian-made products
It seems like an obvious solution; but looking at your own purchasing power is a great start. Buying Australian-owned products whenever possible is not always so easy to do, as in many cases, it may not be obvious from the packaging, however buying Australian made products is much easier, as many bear the official Australian Made logo.
The Australian Made, Australian Grown logo is a registered certification trademark, and can only be used on products that are registered with the not-for-profit Australian Made Campaign Ltd, and that meet their criteria.
Benefits to local economy
While buying locally may cost a little more, you’ll reap the benefits in the long run. Not only will you be helping to create local jobs, boosting the local economy and supporting the local community, but you’ll encourage regional spending and investment. This encourages regional growth, and strong spending, as well as contributing to the national economy through tax revenues (which many online businesses are exempt from).
Encourage others to support Australian businesses – write online recommendations and support them through social media. According to Reputation Builder, 88% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust their best friends’ recommendations, with 80% more likely to go elsewhere if they read bad reviews. Customers who have a bad experience are also three times more likely to leave a review than customers who have a good experience, which means online reviews are negatively skewed.
Supporting locals is just the right thing to do. If you don’t support your local businesses, they will eventually dry up.
Invest in Australian businesses
Investing in Australian businesses is a great way to improve their cash flow and help them compete. There are numerous ways to do this, and it’s not limited to publicly-traded companies.
For listed companies there is the option to invest in shares and purchase a piece of the company, and if you genuinely believe in the company, their leadership and their product, this may be an option for you. Alternatively, you can invest by buying and using their products or services.
For companies that are unlisted, a great way to invest in their future is by buying their products or services. However, another great way is by investing through an invoice finance marketplace like Timelio, where Australian businesses look for funding by selling their invoices to private investors, improving their cash flow and helping with growth. All of Timelio’s invoices come from Australian businesses and this is a great way for investors to support locals.
Source Australian B2B services
With a plethora of cheaper, overseas consulting firms available, it may seem more efficient and cost effective to outsource your business consulting needs, however these companies devalue the services they represent and damage the bottom lines and reputations of Australian businesses.
Manufacturing – uniforms, merchandise
You might think this one is a no brainer. There’s no way Australian manufacturing could ever compete with the likes of China and India on price, but there are other reasons to consider manufacturing locally.
Better control and communication – the basic rule for production is the farther you are from the produce, the more difficult the communication. This can be in both the quality standard you expect, or general finishing of your order. It’s much easier to get an idea of how things will turn out and monitor quality control when you can pop in and visit the manufacturer.
Protecting your ideas – knowing the intellectual property and protection laws in your own country can be tricky, let alone those in every country you chose to manufacture in. Choosing a manufacturer locally often means easier comprehension of your rights and protection laws, as well as the knowledge that there won’t be any generic knock offs of your product floating around.
Shipping locally can be much cheaper – when doing small order runs, shipping can be significantly more expensive from other countries. As can import costs depending on the sizes of your orders. While production costs locally may be slightly higher, unless you’re moving significant volume, these costs will generally even out.
Environmental and social responsibility – using local manufacturing services you can create value in several ways:
- By encouraging local growth and strengthening the economy;
- Keeping a closer eye on working conditions of the factory you employ. Let’s face it, lower cost manufacturing countries don’t have the best track record when it comes to their workers basic rights;
- Limiting the amount of energy and environmental damage in transportation you create, we all know the story of the Prius (and if we don’t).
Professional and creative services
Professional and creative service websites like Airtasker or Fiverr devalue the work of professional services people by opening the local marketplace to price ranges where it may be unrealistic and, in most cases, not worth trying to match.
Imagine you open a business. You have a great product, you sell it at a reasonable price, and people have a genuine need for it. Then an overseas competitor opens. They make the same product, but they can sell it direct online at a fraction of the cost, a cost you are unable to match, or even come close to, as selling at that price you would lose money with every item sold. Not only this, but people now believe you are trying to rip them off and price gouge because you seem comparatively more expensive
This is how these websites are damaging not only Australian business bottom lines, but also the professional and creative services industry as a whole. If you currently run, or are planning to run your own Australian business, you’ll want people to use your business and not find a cheaper, online alternative. Please apply the same thinking to the creative services you need to hire.