Why I do what I do
Why would someone choose to start a company, and be a champion of small business, in regional areas? Surely heading to the city would be much more profitable?
Maybe, but money isn’t always what motivates people, and the fact that there is more money to be made in the “big smoke” just isn’t always true.
I grew up in a regional area of Queensland, the descendent of a long line of farming entrepreneurs, and experienced an ideal childhood surrounded by family, friends and a very close community. After school, Uni and working for a few years, I finished up living in developing countries with my now business partner and husband.
During those years, I had the opportunity to meet and work with some truly amazing people. By the nature of Ian’s work, we lived in areas where the local economy was dominated by a large, often multinational, company.
The approach of these companies to engaging with small, local suppliers varied considerably – from exemplary to appalling.
In 1996, we returned to Australia, and established our own company, 4T Consultants Pty Ltd, in regional Queensland. 4T was formed to continue Ian’s work of developing and promoting Best Management Practices for long-term sustainable production in plantation and tropical agricultural crops. Over 20 years, 4T has grown and developed and became an award-winning business, still committed to sustainable production using our natural resources.
4T won its’ first Australian Federal Government and State Government contracts in 2006, with a multi-million dollar project to establish sustainable and best management practices in Australian agriculture. 4t went on to win contracts with the giants of the resources industry, including Rio Tinto, BHP, Glencore and Arrow Energy. When it comes to dealing with large organisations as a small business, Bronwyn has seen pretty much everything – both the good and the not so good.
So, by the very nature of 4T’s work – helping clients to manage our natural resources sustainably – we have lived and worked in regional areas.
Regional economies are beset by boom and bust cycles. We have climate booms and busts. We have floods and droughts. We have agricultural commodity booms and busts – wheat, cotton, beef. But the big one of course is the energy and resources price cycle. It’s the big one simply because the footprint of the resources industry in some of our regions is so much larger than the footprint of other industries.
I’ve seen these cycles play out over my lifetime. Sometimes, an area is permanently crippled when an industry dies or a natural disaster strikes. Mostly, life returns to “normal” after a time, but not without a degree of collateral damage. Families leave the area, businesses close, mental health issues arise, facilities close …
To me, the key to minimising these deleterious effects is the local small business community.
Vibrant local small businesses, connected to the “outside world”, are the mainstay of these regional economies – helping to smooth the ups and downs. And without robust regional economies, Australia has no future. This is why I do what I do.
We have all started somewhere.
For Ian and myself, we have raised our company, nurtured and passionately thrown ourselves in.Bronwyn Reid
Small Company Big Business
Bronwyn is a small business owner and serial entrepreneur whose main driver is small business success, particularly in regional areas. Having successfully started and run three award-winning businesses from regional Queensland, Bronwyn took pen to paper (so to speak), and wrote about her own successful rise in business. In her latest book, Small Company Big Business, Bronwyn shares the secret of her success.