Over the past 18 months, small business owners have found themselves shouldering an increasingly heavy burden.
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With challenges ranging from the relentless pace of work to rising costs and the ever-present rise of inflation, these entrepreneurs have been pushed to their limits.
In the face of these struggles, the Dubbo community came together to offer a helping hand through a workshop designed to empower local businesses and shed light on the strength of collective action.
Sarah Christian, economic development services officer for Dubbo Regional Council and workshop organiser, said it had been a tough time for local businesses.
"The past 18 months have really shown how small business owners are struggling to do everything," she said.
"We are noticing they are burnt out because they are working in their business and not on it.
"Add to that the ongoing cost escalations and inflation, business owners are working more hours than ever before and also not having the time to stay up-to-date with current trends or find out what support is available to them."
In response to these difficulties, Dubbo Regional Council and the Dubbo Business Chamber orchestrated an event that aimed to provide support, knowledge, and community spirit to local business owners.
The event marked the first-ever collaboration of its kind between the council and the chamber.
Ms Christian said the event was "fantastic" and that after applying for grants it was great to see their "vision" come to life.
The event attracted approximately 35 small businesses, a turnout that exceeded expectations, especially considering the many competing activities scheduled in Dubbo on the same day.
At the heart of the event were sessions designed to provide small business owners with invaluable insights and knowledge.
"There was a lot for business owners to get from the day with four sessions organised to cater to feedback we had received from small businesses during the prior year," Ms Christian said.
These sessions covered a wide range of topics, from internal focus and work-life balance to building confidence in the region and hearing from businesses already embracing these principles.
Attendees also had the unique opportunity to participate in an "expert blitz" workshop where they received ten-minute consultations with eight different specialists, followed by a networking session.
One of the highlights of the event was the powerful message delivered by guest speaker Leah Macdonald. Her talk emphasised the transformative potential of planning, not only in business but in all aspects of life.
"Leah Macdonald spoke about the power of planning ... enabling you to show up and have success without the feeling of burnout," Ms Christian said.
"She was a very motivating speaker and resonated with a lot of the small business owners in the audience."
Ms Christian said these types of workshops assist local small businesses to work on themselves and to hear about all the support that is available to them through the services Dubbo Regional Council and the Dubbo Business Chamber offer.
"DRC has a number of partnerships and programs that help support local businesses, including the myDubbo Region Shopping Card Business Program and the Dubbo Region Skills Portal. Both programs are free and accessible to businesses in the Local Government Area."
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