Fear of success and failure to plan ahead

Now is the time for all smart companies to come to the aid of their country, turn off the shrill screams of the mining masters and plan ahead to get ahead of those that expect China to collapse, commodity prices to fall in a heap and investors rush off to emerging markets with highly unstable administrations. Consumer and business confidence provides a better song from the canaries that sit in the booming minds of the nation.

Despite the media fixation on ‘Will he, won’t he, backflip again’ to the crocodile tears of the billionaire mining lobby, Kevin is firmly fixed on being Kevin 11 and leading the reconstruction of the Australian economy to establish a national reform agenda.

Kevin and Ken have declared the door is open to about 50 sovereign wealth funds around the globe with some $4 trillion under management and which are widely expected to have a further $6 trillion to place in profitable projects in the next few years. The only thing to fear is the fear of success and the failure to set out a clear and consistent plan for the growth of this country.

The real concern is no longer that we may drop into a double dip deflationary cycle but that we are going to see a breakout of wage inflation as the xenophobes push for a cut back in national growth and curb the source of skilled migrants by creating a massive fear campaign, in the hope that consumer sentiment will wash them into office.

The electorate is saying to both major parties – grow up and offer us some real leadership as we accept that Australia escaped the worst of the GFC forecasts but you have failed to address the real opportunities put forward by the Henry Tax Review team.

As Heather Ridout has said: “We should not let ourselves be thrown off course, and there is now a need to put it right so that we can see genuine and productive reform. In the critical areas of skills development, in our transport, water and energy infrastructure and in our inter-governmental relations, for instance, we are playing catch up. Businesses, especially small business, are caught in a compliance nightmare. We overtax savings, insurance, and property transfers, consumption taxation remains half-baked, and our eight different payroll regimes are anachronistic.”

Gary Morgan’s weekly sampling of customer expectations shows Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence has climbed slightly for the second straight week, up 2.5 points to 119.0. Gary says: “This week’s rise has been driven by decreasing worries about personal finances with 29% (down 5%) of Australians saying their family is ‘worse off’ financially than a year ago and only 14% (down 4%) expecting their family will be ‘worse off’ financially in a year’s time.”

“The RBA’s decision last Tuesday to halt its recent series of interest rate rises at six (the RBA has pushed interest rates from 3% at the start of October 2009 to 4.5% in May 2010) and also make clear it is not expecting to raise interest rates again in the near future have clearly lessened worries among Australians about the possibility of interest rates returning to the levels of two years ago — interest rates peaked at 7.25% between March-September 2008.”

Over the years we have found that it is the consumers who are the canaries that sing when they believe that the good times are just around the corner.

Customers are regaining their confidence at the household level, jobs are being created in the US (and here) and the prospects for globally oriented business are rising. Only those who are reliant upon cheap imports are going to find that they have to shift their quality offer up a couple of notches to maintain premium customers and pay a little more heed to their best sales and marketing teams in an increasingly competitive market.

For more Futurist blogs, click here.

Dr Colin Benjamin is an entrepreneurship and strategic thinking consultant at Marshall Place Associates which offers a range of strategic thinking tools that open up a universe of new possibilities for individuals and organisations committed to applying the processes of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.

Email dr.colinbenjamin@marshallplace.com.au
Contact: CEO Dr Jane Shelton, Phone +61 3 9640 0099

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