For Business Networks in Port Macquarie-Hastings, Community Comes First

Business Networks are evolving to infuse human-ness into businesses

The concept of the village is back in fashion. Individualist thinking and survival of the fittest have become outdated ways of living.

Community is now the buzzword for the challenging times we are living in. And that is a way of thinking that is growing in businesses. Doing business is no longer about being the biggest shark and swimming in dangerous waters, or using underhanded tricks to get the cash register ringing, and it is no longer about being the predator or prey in a dog eat dog world.

It is humanity or human-ness that is being infused into businesses now, which is making businesses stand out and grow. It is a powerful and necessary element to have in an increasingly digitalised world.

A Chamber of Connections

Mark Wilson is executive officer for the Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce, and he has seen how businesses are developing, responding and adapting to the fluctuations we have been experiencing around the world in recent years.

At the Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce, Mark is involved in organising their monthly events, newsletters and communication between the members. There are about 18 or 20 networking events and lunches where presenters on various topics are invited throughout the year. It has about 300 members, and priority is given to communication and networking for local businesses through the Chamber.

For Mark, the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the natural catastrophes that have hit Australia over the last few years, have driven home the stark reality of how important local businesses are, and how vital it is to support each other in business if we are to survive, not to mention, thrive. He has also seen an increase in the trend of people wanting to know other businesses in their communities, and a keen interest in wanting to relate to each other and network together.

Mark Wilson, Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce featured on Brilliant-Online Magazine
Mark Wilson, Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce

The Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce fulfills exactly that need, by holding events for businesses to connect and meet (at least once a month). The simple act of getting people together to shake hands, sit down and have a chat can be the catalyst for amazing growth. At the Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce, people can come together to Learn, Grow and Connect. This is where doors open up for people to find their 'soul-businesses' that match what they need, and for getting their voices out there so people know about their offerings, skills and services.

Adapting Forward

The Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce like so many other businesses around the world, has adapted to the dire challenges that have come our way. They have also transported their events online on Zoom. It is a temporary adaptation, and a way to keep going but it is not the definitive way. Flexibility and adaptability are key elements for businesses to move forward. While bringing events online is a way to keep the momentum going, it is also starting to wear on people and having real face-to-face contact is still something people want to return to. For Mark and Veronica, it is about keeping the balance and finding a way that works for our current situations.

Adaptability is a key focus in this year's business awards and the shift is moving away from focusing on pushing up numbers and cashing in profits. Given the current climate, what they are focusing on this year is stories about adaptation, change and what businesses have been doing to survive. This is what judges are looking for, and businesses that have that agility and creativity to get through a challenging period and look ahead to changes that may happen in the future are the ones that will get people sitting up and taking notice.

Mark is surprised by the large number of businesses in Port Macquarie and the diversity of sectors as well, and all this in spite of the pandemic. There are new businesses coming up and some of these are created by people who do have employment but are working on their own individual new business projects from home. The pandemic has brought problems sweeping across industries and countries, and it has also, strangely enough, caused a lot of micro businesses to mushroom everywhere.

Business Awards 2021

The Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce's Business Awards is now in its 15th year giving local business owners in the Greater Port Macquarie-Hastings region the opportunity to be acknowledged by their business peers and the co