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Take off business blinkers

THERE is a strong case for local business owners to look outside the region to connect with customers.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data shows that the media weekly household income in the Northern Rivers of $834 per week is only 67% of the $1237 NSW median weekly house income.

This relatively low household income is explained in part by the high proportion of part-time workers. The Ballina State electoral district – which includes Byron, Ballina and Evans Head – has the highest number of part-time workers across NSW.

Combine low household income with high rental prices in many parts of Northern Rivers and it becomes clear why there is not much left in the average household budget for discretionary spending.

These statistics show a clear case for local businesses to seek customers in other parts of Australia or across the globe: whether that means creating a visitor experience that attracts tourists here or connecting to a global online market.

Businesses that rely on local spending will miss opportunities to maximise profits, this is reflected in the figures that show there was decline in local business numbers in the four years to 2011, a drop by almost 1000 to 28,479 local businesses.

Of these local businesses, only 14% employ five people or more. Regional Development Australia wants to empower businesses to grow beyond five staff. This will not only create more jobs, boost the median household income and bring prosperity to the Northern Rivers.

July 1st, 2014