Building Connections - What a year!

What a year it has been! We’re a resilient bunch that’s for sure. As we close off 2021 it’s time to take a deep breath, acknowledge, and celebrate all we have achieved, accept what we cannot change, and relax and enjoy the festive season. For those of us that will be missing loved ones, we hope you too find joy and comfort in your memories.

We’d like to take the opportunity to thank all of our community who have provided articles, spoken at events, and provided enormous value to the Building Connections community. Your passion for supporting small businesses is amazing and we are extremely grateful for the knowledge you have shared with us.

The year that was 2021

We kicked off the year with a long-awaited face to face event enjoying a few drinks and lots of laughs at Barefoot bowling.

We Laughed and learned about…

Digital Marketing with Allan Cook from Conversion Digital

HR with Peter Maguire from Ridgeline HR followed by Pub Trivia at the Croydon Brewery

Untapped a gold mine of opportunities in our businesses with MBC co-founder Phil Sinclair from Meccano Solutions

Created a Roadmap to Success with MBC co-founder and Coach Colleen Sinclair

Put strategies in place to get paid on time with MBC co-founder and Coach Colleen Sinclair

Know your numbers with Gavin Knight from True North Business Advisory

Track your numbers to increase your profit with MBC co-founder and Coach Colleen Sinclair

Make every quote count with Christine Sharkey from Quote Convert

How to protect your business from hackers with Paul Hankin from Kaesim Cyber Security

Your safety questions answered with Cameron Walker from Walker Safety Services

To all our incredible members thank you for your friendship, contributions, and commitment to supporting each other.

Looking ahead to 2022

The new year will see us expanding to support the wider small business community through our monthly online laugh and learn events, face to face workshops, training, and social events.

We know it can be difficult to find time and funds to undertake training and provide social connection with your team. This is where Building Connections is the partner you didn’t know you needed.

When small business team together we can achieve more, reach goals faster, and have more fun along the way.

Want to know more? Book in a time for a chat


9 tips to a successful Christmas shutdown

This time of the year can be filled with chaos, drama, and uncertainty… it doesn’t have to be that way!  Here are our favourite tips to help you through the silly season and prepare for a successful Christmas shutdown.

1. Safety first – in the rush to meet deadlines this time of year is renowned for increased workplace injuries. Slow down, avoid mistakes and stay safe.

2. Be clear on how much you can physically achieve - set boundaries, be super clear on the workload you can manage, and avoid trying to keep everyone happy because at the end of the day someone is likely to lose out. Don’t forget to put the kid's school concert or drinks with friends into your schedule these may not be urgent but they are important long term.

3. Priorities the workload using “Eisenhower box”

4. Cash flow – invoice as the job is completed and follow up on payments as they fall due. Get on the phone and have a conversation with slow payers. Dedicating a set time each week to simply call and follow up gives you an opportunity to resolve any issues quickly and get money in your bank. 

5. Send a reminder to your customers and suppliers with your closure dates – we all know how much we have on our plates this time of year so make sure you send out a text or email reminding customers and suppliers of your closure dates. Sample message: We will be closed from 3pm on Wednesday 22nd December and reopening at 7am on 10th January. We wish you and your family a safe and happy festive season.

6. Focus time on specific tasks – This time of the year is hectic we get it, lots of things that must get done and so many people want your attention. Choose how you use your time wisely to avoid getting caught up in other people’s chaos.

7. Set up auto-reply email messages – Not everyone will be taking a break and chances are you’ll have emails arriving throughout the holiday period. There are a couple of options you could consider…

  • Auto-reply sample message – This email address is unmonitored whilst we take a break. We will be recharged and back on deck from 10th January please contact us again after the 10th. Wishing you a safe and happy festive season.
  • Auto-reply sample message – We are currently closed for the Christmas New Year period we will be reopening on Monday 3rd If you need to contact us during this period, please call (enter the phone number of the person on call)
  • To avoid returning to a mass of emails consider setting up auto-delete rules for all messages received while you are closed… just make sure your auto-reply message is clear that you are not monitoring emails.

8. Email on return - When you return to the office send an email to welcome everyone back and let them know you're ready to take calls.

9. Turn off your phone and relax – embrace the stillness and calm of not being connected to technology

  • You will enjoy more quality time with those around you
  • Your employees will get better at decision making
  • You'll learn the difference between an emergency and an "emergency"
  • Your brain will work better

 


Connection and our Mental Health

Melbourne is now in its second week of lockdown 6 and the feeling is low. In my many conversations over the past week, the words flat, unmotivated, sad, heartbroken, and heavy have been used to describe how people are feeling.

We, humans, are social creatures we thrive on connection with others. One of the greatest impacts on our health and wellbeing is our feeling of connection and belonging. With the current impacts of lockdowns staying connected has become increasingly difficult and yet more important than ever.

Feeling disconnected and not belonging leaves us feeling isolated and alone. Loneliness can have a significant impact on our physical and mental health which is clearly taking its toll when you listen to the language being used to describe how people are feeling.

When the connection is lost, we are more likely to see increases in:

  • Depression and suicide
  • Cardiovascular disease and stroke
  • Increased stress levels
  • Decreased memory and learning
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Poor decision-making
  • Alcoholism and drug abuse
  • The progression of Alzheimer's disease
  • Altered brain function

Before we ever heard of COVID-19 Smart Company reported in September 2019 that the mental health of our 2.2million small businesses in Australia is at a crisis point. The mental health issues among small business owners in Australia are more than double the national average.

Over half of small business owners compared to 1 in 5 of the general population are living with mental health issues from stress, low-level anxiety to depression.

Data on the 2020 -2021 period has not yet been released but I can only imagine the mental health of our small business owners being even higher.

So, what can we do?

  • Find ways to keep connected
    • Call a friend, family member, colleague, or customer. Check-in with the purpose of brightening their day and yours.
    • Play virtual games together like Golf Clash, Kahoot, Ticket to Ride, Water Cooler Trivia.
    • Join a group – check out the meetup platform for a range of groups. We’d love to have you join ours buildingconnections.com.au
  • Process your feelings as they come up instead of letting them build up. Let yourself be okay with whatever feelings bubble up.
  • Stick to a routine of sleeping, eating well and exercising
  • Breathe deeply and fill your lungs with fresh air…when you don’t need to wear a mask that is.
  • Be kind to yourself and others… kindness is contagious
  • Take control of your thoughts… you get to choose where you put your focus. Focusing on gratitude and appreciation is a great place to start.
  • Reach out for support when you need to “A burden shared is a burden halved”

Reach out to your:

  • Accountant or Financial Advisor
  • GP
  • Coach or Mentor
  • Building Connections community

Help:

  • Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
  • Lifeline 13 11 14