Booming businesses

Sure, the landscape has changed, but the essentials are still the same. NAOMI SIMSON

Naomi Simson

By Naomi Simson

I was having dinner with a friend of mine last night… she runs her own show. She said business has never been busier. In fact most of our conversation was about planning her business growth. Odd you might think, with the current financial climate.

She is in a business that will feel an upswing in the downturn – she is a clinical physiologist. Another person I know runs a business that gets people back to work after workers compensation claims… he has never been busier.

There are always winners…. but are we ready to take advantage of what could be coming our way? Or are we rather too spooked by the media to take business risks?

One of my colleagues at RedBalloon’s partner works in mergers and acquisitions for a large law firm. She wonders if she will ever see him again, he is that busy.

Of course there are the obvious businesses that boom – the lip stick economy, people eating in instead of going out – so take away food is on the rise (as are the obesity rates). BRW last week listed a number of businesses that will boom.

RedBalloon for corporate has found all sorts of opportunities that we did not know were there. While we have been running reward programs and incentive schemes for years, we are finding areas that previously we did not get to play in.

For instance, if a business was running an offshore incentive program. That just got 40% more expensive based on currency fluctuations… I don’t like to think of us as a conciliation prize, but the reality is that the participants will still get an amazing experience “domestically” rather than there being no prize after all their work…

As bonuses dry up – and people are still working really hard – management are spending smaller amounts but still make sure that they acknowledge their people. They know that if they do nothing, no acknowledgement will cause them much greater harm long term than the small investment now in a RedBalloon experience.

The other place that we are seeing strong growth is our business. This is a real time booking engine listing thousands of activities around Australia and NZ. With people choosing to holiday domestically (or overseas tourists now finding Australia so cheap) they are choosing some special activities locally to do. Over the next few months we will see Australians re discover Australia. Because our dollar goes a long way locally.

This supports the 900 local activity suppliers in the RedBalloon community.

So what I see is that it is back to basics. Support local, which will keep people employed and the economy stimulated. This is a time when our service economy can shine.

It will take a brave person to start a business now… but there are definitely great opportunities for growth… though it might take a strong stomach.


Naomi is a finalist in the 2008 Australian HR Awards and the 2008 Telstra Women’s Business Awards, winners to be announced end 2008. Naomi was also a finalist for the BRW Most Admired Business Owner Award in 2008 and Marketing Employer of Choice by B&T in 2007. One of Australia’s outstanding female entrepreneurs, Naomi regularly entertains as a professional speaker inspiring middle to high-level leaders on employer branding, engagement and reward and recognition. Naomi writes a blogand has written a book sharing the lessons from her first five years.

To read more Naomi Simson blogs, click here .


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