I am honoured to have been asked to represent Small Business in Australia for the RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia).

Thanks to the RBA I learned some great insights into the future of the Australian economy. The RBA have a significant amount invested in statistical data on how the Australian economy is tracking. They spend a huge amount of time identifying the challenges, opportunities and threats that we face as small business owners in this country.

My job was to give feedback on my own businesses and share the thoughts, frustrations, chokeholds and opportunities I’ve gathered from small business owners, start-ups and entrepreneurs across the country.

By speaking in front of over 20,000 business people this year I would have to be blind to not identify some common challenges we are all facing in the current economic environment.

The main point I want to point out is that although it’s the RBA’s job to manufacture interest rates and therefore pull a huge lever in where our economy is going, it’s important to remember that the national economy is not our personal economy.

It is our job as leaders, business owners and entrepreneurs to adapt to the conditions of the marketplace.

No matter where the economy is headed, we can create growth.

Also an important note to remember is that business is a battleground. In the summer of our economy, the boom times, we fight off competition. When things are good, there will be more competitors in the marketplace. In the winter of our economy, the tougher times, we fight against our customers’ ability and desire to spend money and purchase.

It blows my mind that with a hundred bucks and a business name you can start a business and start employing people, you become responsible for the livelihood of your staff. Yet to drive a car you need to do 100 hours as a learner driver and drive next to someone who has been at the wheel driving successfully for years, and has the experience to tell you what to look out for and what to do. You have to sit a test and prove you are ready.

The reason I make the point is that the RBA acknowledges that lack of business education is one of the greatest risks to small business in Australia.

An organisation will never outgrow its leader. As leaders we need to get smart, we need to get educated, we need to surround ourselves with a group of people who have the experience and the knowledge to equip us and prepare us for the challenges and opportunities that business will throw us. Education is the foundation of growth.

The main lesson I received from the RBA is that as business owners the odds are stacked against us, we need to be equipped and ready to grow against the odds and the greatest investment we can make is an investment in ourselves becoming better leaders, better decision makers, better strategists, and as a result, better business owners.

Below are a few random notes from the last 12 months working as an Advisor to the RBA:

  • While business confidence is low, startups are high, with lots of people starting up new businesses. Whilst startup numbers are high, bankruptcy and business closures are also high.
  • Interest rates in general came down but access to funds became more difficult, the compliance and paperwork to get a loan was one of the greatest concerns for business owners.
  • Access to capital is a huge threat to small business in Australia; many businesses went broke while making great sales (they just ran out of cash).
  • Creative capital raising is on the rise, rapidly; with crowdfunding gaining popularity, as is angel investing.

Do you have a question for Brad? Ask in the comments!