Help for our sole traders
AS PROMINENT entrepreneurs and business women in the community, Kim Cahill and Natalie Fogarty know first-hand what a reward it is to be a sole trader and microbusiness owner in a place like Toowoomba.
But they also know that it can be an isolating, difficult place to be – the past 12 months alone has proven that.
But the pair has begun a new endeavour to help microbusinesses in the Darling Downs and South West develop their presence in the business landscape of the region.
“We just decided that we’re going to support microbusiness as much as we can and help award-ready businesses by supporting them in their business,” ToowoombaDarlingDowns.com.au director Ms Cahill said.
“Let’s not just look at the destination, let’s look at the journey.
“Let’s look at the heart of what people go on when they’re building a business when they’re a sole trader.”
At the centre of their efforts is a desire to make the businesses “award-ready” – a symbol that they can hold their own against fully established, larger local businesses in Toowoomba.
The pair campaigned alongside the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce to include two new categories in the Business Excellence Awards – one for microbusinesses and one for sole traders – to great success.
For the very first time this year, the new categories have been added.
“For me it’s about helping as many smaller microbusinesses be award ready,” Ms Cahill said.
“They don’t have to enter awards, but if they’re award ready that means they’ve got systems in place, they’ve got a vision and a purpose.”
At a time where small businesses are still reeling from the impacts of the pandemic, the pair help by bringing a sense of stability and security to their operations.
The pair hosts monthly “accountability” meetings with the dozens of business owners they assist.
They host workshops to help them develop their websites, and social media presence.
The duo goes above and beyond to help microbusiness owners and small traders get the most out of their operations, and the reason they do it is simple.
They love to see people succeed.
Ms Fogarty, who runs Vigour Graphics, said the “thrill of the chase” motivated her to help likeminded business people.
As an expert in design and search engine optimisation, she helps with all things digital.
But at the end of the day, it’s all about keeping a “fire in the belly” of sole traders.
“I love being a part of it, I like being in the background,” she said.
“I like doing air punches when they get a win.
“You don’t want to see business fail or fold, you want them to win.”
The pair says they currently help 10 to 20 of the 33,000 microbusinesses currently operating in the Darling Downs and South West, with hopes to expand their operations.
“I want to nurture and look after small businesses that want to succeed,” Ms Fogarty said.
“If you come from a place of abundance, abundance will come back to you.”