The first of the Australian Services Roundtable (ASR) Services SME peer mentoring sessions kicked off in Sydney last Wednesday, 14th September with a broad group of attendees enjoying lively discussion and connecting with other participants.
Objective of the program
The objective of the program is to bring together companies from the services sector, providing a platform to leverage skills and experience and help firms look over the horizon and set themselves up ready to take advantages of evolving opportunities. Whilst there are various trade agreements in place, it’s time to look at how to drive the opportunities and change the narrative for SME services internationalisation.
Throughout the initial one year program, ASR will also be following the journeys of five SMEs and telling their stories.
Guest speaker: Matt Hingerty, CEO of Barton Deakin Government Relations
Matt shared with attendee’s insights from his extensive experience, from working with the NSW state and Howard federal governments, to the private sector and with a range of industry groups including the Australian Tourism Export Council.
Understanding the process of government
With the evolution of the industrial economy to a knowledge economy, it takes time for businesses to adapt and government departments are no different. It’s important to understand the structure how the various departments operate to navigate the process.
Positioning the services sector
Measuring services in the economy are harder than looking at say, units of production. With a sector like tourism, which has seen substantial growth from China, you can count visitor numbers, but with an industry like legal services, it is more difficult to quantify the economic impact.
Being intangible, services can sometimes be complex to explain, especially to politicians who have to be across so many issues. It’s too easy to get caught up in industry jargon in terms of what we do and what we are selling, so when positioning your business to the government you need to make is easy. In his view, the best approach is to provide success stories and anecdotes highlighting benefits for the economy such as jobs creation and other positive impacts.
Building relationships with government
Whether you are a small company or publically listed corporate, there are four simple steps to follow for good government relations:
- Engage – with those politicians that are interested in the issues that are important to your business
- Educate – being generalists, it is important to get issues across in simple language. Having anecdotes of success stories will make it easier to enable repeatable messages
- Industry associations – provide collective representation to government and via the media in the interests of their members
- React – when relevant issues arise, if you have already engaged, provided education and have industry representation it will be much easier to position your business interests.
How to get involved
The SME peer mentoring program will be held on the second Wednesday of each month, with the next session scheduled for 12th October 2016. Attendance is included in a special introductory ASR membership offer of $150 pa plus GST.
If you would like to apply for membership, email Stacey Martin, Business Development Manager, SME Strategy or call Stacey on 0413 127 677 for more information or download the application form here.
About Australian Services Roundtable
As the voice of professional services, Australian Services Roundtable aims to secure Australia’s place in the global economy. In addition to advocating free trade and bilateral agreements, ASR seeks to facilitate international services trade and investment channels.
Members include professional service industries, SMEs, and micro-multinationals across the financial sector, education, health and the environment, tourism, culture, technology and business services.