Now is the time to skill up for the future-proof of your business

We all know 2024 is expected to be a bit of a tough year for Australia’s retail sector, and while this certainly brings with it challenges, it also presents an opportunity to re-evaluate businesses and the ways in which they can be better positioned for the future.

For context, the latest retail data is not all doom and gloom, representing some improvement on 2023 and the start of the year.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reveals that in February 2024 retail turnover increased 1.6% year-on-year and 0.3% m-o-m. This follows a January  jump in turnover of 1.1% both m-o-m and y-o-y.

The numbers aren’t exactly exciting, but they are also better than many had expected and forecast.

When we look back historically, the retail sector has faced plenty of challenging times from the Global Financial Crisis to the Covid 19 pandemic and recession and mini-recessions in between.

And there have been plenty of disruptions to the sector along the way. We have seen the advent of online shopping change the retail landscape forever, and witnessed the rise of fast fashion changing the way we shop. There is now also the growing expectation of environmental sustainability changing the way businesses operate and their supply chains.


Retail keeps overcoming economic adversity

Human nature being what it is, time and again we find ways to overcome the challenges and adapt to the disruptions we face in business as we do in life. In the same way businesses have innovated to survive challenging times before, they will do so again.

The question is, what can you do to help your business?

This is a time to innovate, re-imagine and start putting into place strategies which will help your business to grow when economic conditions and consumer sentiment improve.

Is now the time for you to investigate the possibility of taking your brick-and-mortar store online to reach a wider market? Is this the time to look at ways to expand your brand through franchising?

If nothing else, it is almost certainly time to brush up on social media, which has proven to be one of the most effective ways of promoting a business and reaching markets and can be done so with budgets both big and small.

For business owners who have the time, this is a fantastic opportunity to improve and learn skills around:

  • Social media marketing
  • Developing a business strategy
  • Improving sustainability
  • Sourcing new suppliers
  • Diversifying the business into other areas
  • Meditating for improved mental health
  • A new hobby to ensure work/life balance

There may be things on this list which jump out at you as something you want to do while others may hold no interest for you at all. The point is, now is the time skill up.

If you opt to learn for yourself, there are plenty of classes which can be taken, many of these of now online, and there is almost no limit to the number and types of courses you can access through YouTube.

And don’t underestimate the knowledge of the young adults you have in your life. The chances are they know more than you do and can give you some great tips.

The commitment of time and dedication from you as a business owner now, may well be the determining factor in how successful your business will be well into the future. Isn’t it worth taking the time?

To help get you started, check out this Youtube video by Neil Patel who gives a great rundown on the basics of social media and using it effectively.