Lift off time, so get on board

Smart companies should now prepare for a lift in customer inquiries, but expect pressure from clients and customers to make special deals, extended terms of trade, and requests for supply agreements.

The early signs of consumer and business optimism go beyond the cash splash of the stimulus packages around the world, and herald a long and sustained growth path for businesses that have adopted a strategic plan for their future.

We now know the ground rules for the Rudd-Turnbull-(Costello?) election in 2010. It will be fought between the unions and small business, with the public sector unions demanding payment on their electoral deposits with Labor and the finance flowing from small business and independent contractors fuelled up with Government resources from the Swan/Tanner raid on the future and superannuation funds.

That is why it is essential for SMEs to take time out before the end of this financial year to meet with their top team and their financial advisers. A new business and marketing plan is essential, based on locking down customer relationships and building a platform for sustainable prosperity.

In the next six months, gold will be the hedge funds of the future for sovereign growth funds, and there will be the potential for a substantial increase in the dollar, creating opportunities for import substitution.

Now is the time to address inventory strategies to make sure that costs are kept under control and good sales staff are rewarded for long-term contracts over short-term sales.

Both state and federal governments are going to keep up the stimulus for domestic productivity and underpin job creation through infrastructure projects and retention of up to $36,500 in first home grants that run out in the next financial year.

In the medium term, smart companies will be looking to cash in on Swan’s implementation of last year’s infrastructure budget across the country with lots of opportunities for local tenders. 

Marginal electorates will get a lot of focus from governments and provide a pathway to the bank for reduced overdrafts and local job creation initiatives. Bear in mind the fact that according to KPMG the true cost of the infrastructure projects being supported by state deficits will be up to four times as high, at more than $80 billion (yes, billion).

Next look for new business opportunities for medium to large companies that can capitalise their operations in areas that will win rail, ports, roads and major land development projects. There will be funds for rolling stock, equipment, and project management firms with architects, engineers, training and financial planning service supports.

Successful smart companies involve family and friends and your top management teams in looking for windows of opportunity that build a sound platform for business development.  The big banks have already decided to weed out small firms that do not have clear plans, and good prospects as they hang on to the interest rate cuts offered by the RBA.

Now is the time to get close and serious with your bank’s business managers as they look for evidence of the few that have firm orders and long term plans. It is vital to win their confidence if you plan to have their financial backing for tenders and contracts that are going to begin to emerge as a basis for the survivors of the global financial crisis. 



Dr Colin Benjamin is Entrepreneurship and Strategic Thinking Consultant at Marshall Place Associates, which offers a range of strategic thinking tools that open up possibilities for individuals and organisations committed to applying the processes of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. Contact: CEO Dr Jane Shelton. 

For more Futurist blogs, click here.



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