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A successful launch for the region’s inaugural Small Business Festival

11 August 2023

The Mornington Peninsula’s first ever Small Business Festival kicked off on Wednesday the 2nd of August with a hugely successful launch event held at Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery.

Representatives from close to 70 local businesses were welcomed bright and early with coffee from Bobster’s coffee van and a delectable breakfast spread courtesy of The Filling Station Mornington before sitting down to hear from esteemed keynote speaker, Mark McCrindle.

 

Mark presented on the theme of “Changing Times, Emerging Trends: Understanding the Customers and Communities of the Future. 

 

Representatives from close to 70 local businesses were welcomed bright and early with coffee from Bobster’s coffee van and a delectable breakfast spread courtesy of The Filling Station Mornington before sitting down to hear from esteemed keynote speaker, Mark McCrindle.

Businesses were encouraged to tap into five key trends in order to be adaptive, innovative and successful in the rapidly changing business landscape they find themselves in today. As Mark shared, “we are not moving to the future, the future is coming to us at an increasing velocity”.

These five key trends spoke to:

  • The demographic changes we are experiencing. Namely, population growth in regional areas following COVID and an ageing population that is not only living longer, but active longer – meaning an extended period of engaging, buying and connecting.
  • Economic considerations. In particular, the “recessionette” we are in. Even if we don’t experience negative GDP growth, customers are still responding as if we are. This tightening of belts, along with other factors such as global uncertainty, interest rate hikes and a rising cost of living, will have implications for businesses. From the perspective of an employer, it’s important to tap into the growing entrepreneurial mindset held by many prospective employees (some may even be intrapreneurials – go getters that work within an organisation).
  • Business trends. Specifically, customer expectations and the rise of virtuous consumerism. The growing concern for the future of our planet on behalf of consumers has a significant impact on the purchasing decision. Customers today care about supporting small business, sustainable practices, protecting the planet and its people. It is also important to consider that 80% of parents have had their consumption decisions or actions influenced by their children.
  • Generational observations. What do businesses need to keep in mind with the key generations they sell to, employ, interact with, market to? Mark highlighted the importance of understanding Generation Alpha in particular – those born from 2010 to 2024. This cohort was born into the age of social media, making them technologically savvy. They are the most materially endowed generation ever, with significant purchasing power. Their choices are limitless and the way they are learning is changing (TikTok as a learning platform – who knew?)
  • Work considerations. The way we think about work is changing, and businesses who employ people need to pay special attention to how. There is a shift happening from an industrial mindset, so a more creative one. From a linear pathway to a more flexible one. In other words, “the learning and earning are more interactive”. People are looking for flexibility and hybrid work environments. Increasingly, they are also looking for roles with meaning and purpose.

To end, Mark left businesses with three key takeaways: lead with empathy (we’re seeing a shift from hierarchical leadership to a more collaborative and contributive approach that is people-centric), focus on culture (culture leads to cause leads to competence. Create a place where people feel they can grow, belong and be valued and this will flow out on to the customer), and commit to growth (not just in terms of profit or revenue, but growth in the team’s capacity. Training is a key tool of retention, engagement and productivity).

The crowd found Mark’s presentation to be hugely insightful, helping them understand what the most important considerations are when looking at the world through the lens of the emerging customer and how to adapt to their needs and experiences.

It’s not too late to get involved in some of the remaining Small Business Festival events.

Marketing Small Business Festival

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