From Adversity to Advantage: a recipe for building a resilient business

Webinar series

As part of our COVID-19 response initiatives, NERA released a series of five informative webinars that explored business resilience and provide practical steps, examples and strategies for Small- to medium-sized businesses.

SMEs, entrepreneurs and innovators across the energy resources supply chain have been hit hard by the unprecedented and ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Social and economic disruption, loss of trade, cancelled projects and financial hardship challenge us in unprecedented ways, and combine with ongoing uncertainty to make the future very difficult to navigate.

NERA is committed to helping businesses in the energy resources sector to withstand the current crisis, and to continue growing, innovating and commercialising when the economy starts to recover. Having the foundations of a resilient business will position founders and leaders of small businesses to do this.

About the webinar series

Presented by Perth-based veteran entrepreneur Bill Withers, the series focussed on the unique opportunity SMEs have to harness the characteristics of their business to build resilience. Having built a geoscientific data IT company with three founders to one operating in six countries with over 120 employees, Bill has learned a great deal about the capabilities needed to ensure a sustainable and resilient organisation.

Bill Withers says: “Founders and leaders of SMEs can use the current pandemic to spend time working ON their businesses and build for resilience. While we cannot predict or control the future, we can certainly anticipate and adapt.”

About the speaker

Bill Withers, Founder of ADAPT by Design, is passionate about business sustainability and resilience. This passion, and his empathy for entrepreneurs, stems from his experience in building a successful global geoscientific software company called acQuire Technology Solutions. Over 20 years of growing a company servicing the mining industry drove Bill to learn all he could about how to grow, steward and lead a global SME through the highs and lows of the resources sector. Bill’s life work is now to use these learnings to help build the leadership, culture, systems and habits SMEs need to build a resilient business.


Bill has kindly donated a half-day one-on-one mentoring session to one of the participating SMEs from the five workshops in the series.
Details will be revealed in the webinars.


Additional reading:

Webinar details

1. Resilient Business Overview

Thursday 30 April 2020, 11.00am AWST

The impact of COVID-19 is being felt by businesses around the world, across all industries and stages of maturity. Leaders are required to navigate a whole new set of challenges while continuing to motivate their employees in a time of uncertainty. Having the foundations of a resilient business will set people up well to do this.

In this session, Bill Withers will share stories around the unique characteristics of an SME and how he built a successful and resilient business that survived and thrived through many boom and bust cycles over 22 years.


2. Healthy Culture

Thursday 7 May 2020, 11.00am AWST

A healthy culture is critical to a business’s ability to be effective and adaptive for long-term sustainability.

An organisation’s culture is the shared assumptions, values and beliefs that determine how people behave. Any group of people who come together regularly will develop a culture — some will be positive and constructive, and some will be less so. Intentionally building a healthy culture is at the core of a resilient business.

In this session, we will explore some of the stories behind the shift from implicit to explicit values and how we worked to embed them across an organisation.


3. Economic Engine

Thursday 14 May 2020, 11.00am AWST

Your economic engine refers to the products and services you take to the market and the process for delivering value to your customers. It is at the heart of your business. If it isn’t robust and viable — it is likely there will be no business at all! The way you engage, deliver and support your customers is so important and can be the differentiating factor between you and other organisations offering the same product or service in the market.

In this session, we explore the importance of understanding and potentially innovating the economic engine for business resilience.


4. Financial Security

Thursday, 21 May 2020, 11:00am AWST

In a resilient organisation, it is important there is a high level of business literacy. It isn’t the responsibility of the ‘finance department’ or an external accountant to manage, it is the responsibility of all leaders to have access to, and be able to recall, the critical numbers, and that these are transparent to the entire organisation.

In this session, we explore strategies for managing financial security effectively in times of rapid change and instability.


5. Organisational Design

Thursday 28 May 2020, 11:00am AWST

For business resilience, organisation design and work-flow need to be well documented but flexible, so everyone has the same view across an organisation.

If you were to ask people in your business to draw a picture of how the organisation works, would the pictures all be the same? Would someone draw an organisation chart, and someone else a group of departments?

In this session, we will explore how to map the key organisation functions in a business and the importance of creating a sense-making picture for everyone to align to.