Searching for the glass half full

Today on SmartCompany we launch what we hope will be a regular feature of our site over the coming months – a new group blog called Recovery Watch.

The idea behind the blog is simple. While Australia’s economy clearly remains patchy, it is also true that the worst that the GFC could throw at us has now very much passed. While economic growth remains constrained and the performance of industry sectors will vary, I think we can confidently say we are not likely to see another Lehman Brothers-like event that sends the global financial system into meltdown.

Unfortunately, for the last few years we’ve become stuck in the twilight zone that hits SMEs after a big financial downturn.

As we saw after the 1990s recession, it takes some time for the full effects of a meltdown to wash their way out of the SME community. The company collapses go on for longer than they should. Sales remain weaker for longer. The banks stay gun shy for longer than seems reasonable.

In short, the aftershocks start to create more trouble than the earthquake.

It’s a bloody tough period to operate in and, frankly, it could have some distance to run: Inspiring confidence in a shell-shocked market in not easy.

And yet the lesson from previous downturns is that this is not the time for entrepreneurs to take their eyes off the bigger growth picture.

This “twilight zone” is the period when smart, nimble entrepreneurs – all of you fantastic SmartCompany readers, of course! – can get the jump on your rivals by seizing on new trends, exploring new products and entering new markets.

Obviously, you’ll do this in a measured or even cautious way that will allow you to scale up or down quickly. But the point is that there are huge gains to be made if you position for the recovery now.

The Recovery Watch blog will help you do that – it is designed to spot the green shoots of recovery and uncover the key economic trends as they emerge.

In Recovery Watch, the SmartCompany team will be examining economic data, looking at trends from big companies, watching the political scene and, of course, following everything that’s happening in the SME community to find those green shoots.

We won’t be sugar-coating things. If the economic data looks grim, we’ll tell you. If we take a few steps backwards for every step forward, we’ll report that. And we’ll still be telling you how it is in the marketplace – we still need to tell you about company collapses and job losses, as this is crucial information for your sector.

But we do want to help to lift the confidence of the SME sector. We want you to be able to discuss these green shoots with your customers, suppliers and staff.

But most of all, we want your business to be in the right position to get the jump on the market when the recovery really kicks in.

You can check out today’s launch feature on Recovery Watch with 10 green shoots in the economy here.

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