Kate Hawkesby: Small businesses will shape NZ's economic recovery

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 7 Aug 2020, 10:19AM
Photo / 123RF

Kate Hawkesby: Small businesses will shape NZ's economic recovery

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 7 Aug 2020, 10:19AM

I’m fascinated to see how we’re all ‘pivoting’, to use the hot new word we’ve discovered this year – along with ‘unprecedented.’

2020 has brought  all these new words and acronyms. WFH – work from home – PPE, pivot, lockdown, unprecedented, these are all part of our new 2020 lingo. But how people ‘pivot’ is of interest to me, because it requires enormous motivation and guts.

It’s brave to have a career as an airline steward, and then suddenly rock up to a supermarket to stack shelves.

Many of us sit in our same jobs, taking for granted the day in day out minutiae of what it involves – a lot of the time we can do it on auto pilot, going through the motions we’ve ingrained as habits over many years. So imagine when you have to throw that all in – or Covid’s thrown it in for you – and you have to regroup.

It would be easy and very tempting to have a pity party and stay stagnant, feeling as though all you’ve ever known is lost, and there’s nothing else you can do. But the real heroes of this time I think are the ones who’ve had to pick themselves up, with all the uncertainty out there – and just reinvent. Take on something new, scary and different.

I know many people in the tourism industry who’ve had to do this, and it’s terrifying for them, but they’ve done it anyway.

It’s one of those things many of us in theory like to think we could do, but the reality is much harder.

And then there’s the Hospo industry who’ve had to ‘pivot’ as well.

Many cafes and restaurants now reducing to 4 day weeks .. that’s an emerging trend borne out of survival mode. Reducing overheads and wage bills just to stay afloat – those sorts of decisions can’t be easy to make.

There’s a bunch of Mum and Dad small businesses who are having to make really tough calls too – do they keep staff on and how many? How much do they change the way they operate? What’s sustainable for them going forward and what isn’t. How much sleep is being lost over that right now?

I know of Bed and Breakfasts who’re having to think more laterally about how to market themselves and what they can provide.

There are hundreds and thousands of Kiwis out there getting up this morning having to think long and hard about how they’re going to make ends meet, how they’re going to function differently. This can’t be easy and I thought this week as the jobs numbers came out, stats are one thing, but there’s a whole lot of people in the daily grind at the moment still trying to get by, and not sure for how long they’ll be able to do so.. as they currently are.

I take my hat off to them.

Because for all the talk about what the government can and can’t do, and who should pay for this or that, it’s those people who’ll help us rebuild, and help shape the future of what our country looks like.