Let me open this week with an obvious confession: I am no businessman.
I'm a professional who works at, essentially, a Fairfax Media-affiliated small business; but I am not the one balancing the books or making the biggest decisions.
I do have an ABN for my little sideline – I play a bit of music here and there – but I have the security of knowing I will receive a paycheque every week for my day job.
Small business owners operate in a different sphere.
There are apparently about 1300 of them just in Murray Bridge, according to Regional Development Australia, with a majority turning over less than $500,000 per year.
They are what keep the Murraylands and Mallee's economy ticking over.
Yet until now, they have not enjoyed the clarity a council, sporting association or community group gets from having a single voice to speak on its behalf.
In Murray Bridge, there have been three.
(The musician in me, regrettably, hums along to the Spice Girls song "Two Become One" – I blame my sister for that.)
In some other towns there exists no chamber of commerce equivalent at all.
We at The Standard hope this will be the beginning of a long, constructive and fruitful relationship with the new business alliance and its members, who will no doubt grow in number over the coming weeks and months.
The business sector deserves the same attention elected officials, sporting events and community organisations get in our pages, and having a committee authorised to speak on behalf of all Murray Bridge’s traders – not only those in one part of town – can only help with that.
After all, it is worth remembering: small businesses, and the readers who purchase The Standard in print twice a week, are what keep the Murraylands and Mallee's only dedicated news service going.
We will continue to promote businesses right across the region to 30,000 people every week, in print and online.
Sometimes that will mean advertising your promotions and building awareness about your goods and services; sometimes it may mean news stories about the issues that matter to you.
Give us a call on 8532 8000, or email me at email@example.com, and let us know what we can do for you.
This is, after all, your Murray Valley Standard.