May 4 2020 by Ferg Spary - DIRECTOR - Queenstown Media Group
In a week’s time we will be putting our 750th issue of the Lakes Weekly together. Plans were in place to celebrate this milestone of a business idea dreamed up in a Queenstown bar in 2005. Instead, I am writing the first editorial I have ever written on the front page of the smallest edition we have printed in 12 years. It’s 75% smaller than our last printed issue on 24 March, it’s not able to be hand delivered and what is inside is minimal. But it’s a start.
The last 6 weeks have been spent working out how to survive. It is a jigsaw puzzle where pieces are missing. We know our chances of surviving are going to be increased if we can help our advertising customers survive. We need to be able to offer you, the readers and advertisers, a product that works, at a rate that works. To do this we need to make big changes and go backwards to the bare bones of the business before re-growing again, with you our readers and advertisers. Small step, by small step.
This also comes with the soul destroying but necessary process of restructuring our business. For a small local business, the prospect of breaking up our family of the most loyal and talented people who have given their all for us, is incredibly hard.
We are not alone in this. Our landlords have banks to pay and our suppliers have employees and their suppliers to pay. We need to help them survive if they in turn are going to be able to help us. The Government, while an easy target for support can only provide breathing space for business, and at some point, they will start to tighten up in order to provide social support to the tidal wave increase in beneficiaries.
Queenstown’s visitors will come back eventually with the void filled initially by locals, then domestic travelers, hopefully followed by Australians and maybe by the end of the year other countries. For visitors to return, businesses need to be running. We cannot be a ghost town. The airport, the airlines, the tourism sector as well as all other businesses need to work towards a common goal, forget about the big profits and aim to survive at least the first year and be here.
This year is going to be so tough. It will be a year of survival. The one thing for sure is that as a business if you can survive this year, you will be like a finely tuned athlete, not a bit of excess fat and primed to perform at the top level. Do your best to support local businesses and remember those businesses that support you.
Ferg Spary - DIRECTOR - Queenstown Media Group