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Keeping your business alive in difficult times

October 5, 2022

“It’s the reputation and relationships we’ve built that will get us through . . . if you do everything with integrity, you’ll always be rewarded in the long term."

We have been offered the following story for our newsletter. It illustrates the benefit of investing time into networking. 

When business is buoyant most people put their heads down and work hard to make a good income. They don’t look to the future, which inevitably comes with trade cycles; the time when business will be bad and they will want their loyal customers. This is the story of a firm which focuses on keeping loyal customers through thick and thin.

If you are not in the habit of networking, get started as soon as possible.

The owner of a small community newspaper told us recently it was going to be a tough time ahead in the business.

Newspapers throughout the country are facing big price rises for newsprint, which now has to come from Australia after the last plant in New Zealand closed last year. Costs are also rising for aluminium plates and ink, both integral parts of the printing process. And, of course, getting the papers from the plant and to readers is more expensive as freight costs rise.

But editor Ian Carson is not too worried, even though he and wife Debbi established the Ôtaki paper only four years ago. He’s confident advertisers in the small town will stick with him, despite competition from another local paper and regional papers.

“We’ve put a lot of work in during the past few years building trust,” he says. “I would urge any business to put that high on their priorities.”

Part of that effort was to continue producing a newspaper and publishing it online during the 2020 Covid lockdowns.

“We could have withdrawn and pottered around the house for two months, but we knew readers still wanted to know what was going on. I think they appreciated that someone was putting some effort into keeping them up to date."

Ian believes the paper will survive despite the current difficulties because he’s worked on building strong relationships with customers, which includes advertisers and readers. He and Debbi have also got involved in the community.

“We’ve established business network meetings here, I speak at Amicus and Rotary etc every now and then, and I was until recently chair of the local promotions group. 

“It’s the reputation and relationships we’ve built that will get us through.”

He's had interest from other journalists about how they could start a new newspaper, but he says it will be a waste of time if they can’t make strong connections in the community. 

“Networking is not everyone’s cup of tea, but business owners should always look at how they can engage in community affairs so they can build trust. It doesn’t mean you have to get into local politics, but if you do everything with integrity, you’ll always be rewarded in the long term."

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