Sunday 25 March 2018

Trader Connect Business Partners Revealed

At Friday’s launch of the Trader support program, Trader Connect, we were able to meet some of the Business Partners and learn how they would connect with traders and offer their assistance.

SBMS (Small Business Mentoring Service) is an incorporated not-for-profit association that started its journey in 1986 with just 14 members.  Today there are around 130 Mentors, both male and female, who have the skills and experience to help small businesses. Mentors have diverse and interesting backgrounds and have either owned their own small business or worked in an organisation that has had strong links to small business.

I was lucky enough to meet David Gregory who is CEO of SBMS and one of his opening statements was that humans are born with two ears and one mouth and his philosophy was to use them in that proportion. Essentially the Business Partners are there to listen and learn as they attempt to understand the incredible variety of different businesses at QVM. There will be no first up “fill out this form” or “give us your business plan” as they sit down with traders and find out about individual needs and then work through options that may assist the trader.

I had two specific questions for David –
   1.   How much will the service cost? – happily there is no cost to traders. The service is free.
   2.   What about privacy issues? Can traders comfortably reveal private financial information? David told me that each Business Partner signs a declaration that what is discussed with clients remains confidential. Although they are funded in their work, they remain completely independent from outside organisations.

SBMS have recently worked with businesses impacted by State Government railway and level crossing works, so they are familiar with scenarios where infrastructure changes can impact on fragile small businesses.

Representatives of Trader Connect will be around the market over coming weeks to ensure that traders have access to their services and we will publish links and information on Victraders as they come to hand.

Click here to go to the SBMS web page where you will find a link to QVM Trader Connect.

By Greg Smith