Owning a small business is not easy, so we’re getting behind the Shop Small – a Big Month for Small Business campaign. The campaign runs throughout November and encourages everyone to shop local and support the country’s small retailers.

Celebrity chef Kylie Kwong has been supporting local businesses and producers since she opened her Sydney restaurant Billy Kwong 13 years ago, and chats to SHESAID about why shopping small is so important for our communities, and shares her favourite local haunts and tips for small business operators.

What does Shop Small mean to you?
Shop Small to me is all about ‘the spirit of community’ – it is about looking after each other; it is about frequenting our precious local small businesses – supporting those who bring colour, character, personality and that wonderful person touch to our day-to-day live –  so we can in turn create a dynamic, nurturing and vibrant community together!

What are some of your favourite local haunts in Surry Hills?
Reuben Hill Cafe
121BC Enoteca
Crown Street Grocer
Barberia Hair Salon

Who are some of your favourite local producers that supply the restaurant?
Patrice Newell’s Biodynamic Garlic – Hunter Valley
Melanda Park NSW – Certified-Free Range Pork
Burrawong, South Coast – Free Range Ducks
Rod + Laurie Marr’s – Biodynamic Eggs – Oberon
Rainforest Foods – Davidson’s Plums + Macadamia Nuts – Northern NSW Riverland

It is these small, artisanal producers who give Billy Kwong its colour, versatility, character and unique flavour!

As a small business owner, what are your best tips for growing a small business?
Before you even consider opening the doors on your small business, you absolutely MUST do a business plan guided by an accountant or experienced business person; the commercial viability or lack of;  of the proposed business, will soon sort out where your passion sits!  It is not enough to have the creative vision and ideas for the business plan, you have to always work very closely with an accountant or business person so that your idea and vision is also commercially viable. Take good care of yourself so that you as the business owner can continue to grow your business based on steady and sound decision making.

What are you looking forward to cooking this summer?
I am really looking forward to going fishing with my brother and his family in the stunning waters around Akuna Bay and simply grilling our daily catch on the back of his boat! Simple, fresh, locally sourced, delicious.

 What are your favourite small businesses? Tell us in the comments!