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Looking Towards Christchurch’s New Future

by fatweb


Bob Stewart is a business recovery team leader at Recover Canterbury, part of a team of experienced and skilled business recovery coordinators helping earthquake-impacted businesses get back on their feet. To find out more visit

The statistics show that most of us love it, some of us like it and, as with any announcement of this scale, some aren’t keen on it at all.

What am I speaking about? The Christchurch Central Recovery Plan. One hundred days in the making, the plan gives us a glimpse of our city of the future.

One of the most commonly used words to describe the plan is bold – and it is. The plan outlines some dramatic changes for the face and feel of our city, with the low-rise, compact, precinct-driven, green city ticking the boxes for many.

We know businesses will be impacted by the plan; for some it will be positive and for others it will bring new challenges.

Recover Canterbury has been working closely with the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) to help businesses affected by the plan work out what to do next. For many businesses it involves proactively communicating with their landlord or, if they own the property, with the CCDU directly.

When it comes to fit-out we’ve talked to businesses about the importance of understanding the provisions of their lease around the ownership of the fit-out, as well as knowing its value in dollar terms. And one vital piece of advice is to keep your business partners and stakeholders, such as financiers, in the know.

We encourage businesses to speak to us to help them navigate their way through what the new plan means for them.

For some businesses the renewed set of challenges around planning for the future of our city, and their business, is weighing heavily on their shoulders. For others it’s the continuing cashflow battle.  In a recent Recover Canterbury business survey of 274 small to medium businesses, 57 percent of respondents reported cashflow as a key issue.

While even before the quakes cashflow was often singled out as a major business issue, today’s environment provides a new twist, with challenges such as capital spend on recovery, insurance pay-outs (or lack of them), drastically increasing costs and severely fluctuating trade sales having major cashflow implications.

What we believe is surprising, is the number of small to medium businesses we are talking with that don’t truly understand cashflow – how it works and what it means for their business. If you look at a business in the context of the well-worn food pyramid, cashflow is the business equivalent of your whole grains and veges. If this base isn’t right it’s not good for your business’ health.

But no matter whether it’s cashflow, the new Recovery Plan, other business issues or personal hassles, we know that an increasing number of business owners and managers are starting to fray around the edges.

An increasing number of Cantabrians are seeking out emotional support, be it through their local doctor, a workplace support programme, or one of the many free workshops available (a recent stress and resiliency workshop held by Southern Cross was booked out).

Business owners are not immune to soaring stress and anxiety levels. Of theowners that have contacted Recover Canterbury for support since the beginning of this year, more than 45 percent cited stress and fatigue as a major issue.

Thanks to funding from the Ministry of Business owner, Innovation and Employment, Recover Canterbury can help those businesses with a free business resiliency and stress management programme, delivered by the experts at EAP and Workplace Support and individually tailored to each business.

Ensuring owners get the help they need is what the team at Recover Canterbury is here to do.  We’re passionate about it because we know that our city needs our local businesses to stick around for what’s looking like a rosy future. According to the Recover Canterbury survey, more than 74 percent of businesses are optimistic about the future and more than 54 percent of businesses report a swing towards improved sales. On top of that spring has sprung, summer is on the way and, with Christmas spending just around the corner and the construction activity in the city growing, we should be looking to the future with a smile.

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