Business in Uncertain Times

Much has been written about the “depressed” economic climate and lack of business confidence.  Is it really that bad?  You can’t control the economic climate but you can certainly control how you feel about it.

Let’s look at recent history…

Toward late 2012 the resources sector started to decline on the back of falling coal prices, uncertainty around Government policy and pressure on high infrastructure and labour costs.  This sent the local economy into a state of flux, resulting in some mines closing, losses of jobs which in turn flowed indirectly to impact small to medium businesses supporting the resource sector.

Since then we had a change of Federal Government, which was received quite positively from the business sector. The May Federal budget created uncertainty, however, business confidence across Australia still remains positive. 

The national business confidence indicators remain positive, however, this is largely on the back of an improved property, building and construction industry. Many of those impacted by loss of jobs in the resource industry have gained employment in the building and construction industry.

In Newcastle and the Hunter Region, the building and construction industry is not as strong as the national indicators however there is a genuine feel that Newcastle is on the brink of greater activity in this sector given the proposed new developments in Newcastle and the lower Hunter.

I have witnessed many businesses performing very profitably and in fact growing.  Why is that?  I believe those businesses have adopted a focus towards strategic planning and continually looking at opportunities for the business.  These business owners also regularly review their performance and are proactive in making change in their business.

It is no coincidence that the business owners doing well in uncertain times, are ultimately taking responsibility for what’s going on for them and their business.  They do not let any negative sentiment enter their business and remain positive which allows others, including staff, clients etc to remain positive.  These business owners recognise that you can “only control the controllable”.  They can’t control what happens in the mining sector or coal prices, they can’t control the Federal Government and the different policies that they may adopt.  What they can control is what is happening in their business and how they respond to it.

Business in Uncertain TimesThese business owners would dispute the fact that business confidence is low because they remain confident about their business and are taking action to continually grow, develop, and become more efficient. How do you feel about your business?

In summary, it is in times of uncertainty that we need to bring certainty.  Certainty can be achieved by taking the time to review your business operations, consider those weaknesses or threats that may exist and turn them into strengths and opportunities.  Seek external support because sometimes the strategy is quite obvious but as a business owner, when we are so engaged in our business, we may not see the opportunity.


Written by Steve Roxby

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