It’s all about relationships

Nearly all small businesses are facing a crisis of confidence. Here is why sending out Christmas cards will help. COLIN BENJAMIN

Colin Benjamin

By Colin Benjamin

There is no doubt that we are only now getting to see the real impact of the “financial engineers” and their relationship with the bonus factories run by lawyers, auditors and market manipulators.

Isn’t it interesting to see how quickly the short sellers were able to kill off any signs of recovery as they made hay out of the lifting of market constraints?

At last Nick Sherry is making the appearance of calling them to account while at the same time showing an unexpected willingness to let market forces convert a surplus into a deficit.

The rushed meeting of the G20 heads called by President Bush and the desperate efforts of the big three auto companies to get a $US25 billion handout from the US Congress point to a further major crash in world business confidence in the first week of December.

This is not a good sign for smart companies that are facing so much pressure they are cutting back on their Christmas parties.

Every small business is facing a crisis of confidence, and the level of consumer confidence continues to fall as seen in the latest Roy Morgan Weekly Consumer Confidence ratings for November, driven by more worries among Australians who are now seeing real job losses among people they know.

This week, Roy Morgan Weekly Consumer Confidence rating was down 4.6 points to 91.2. Australians are more worried about their family’s financial situation over the next year with 23% (up 3%) saying that they expect to be “worse off” in a year’s time compared to 32% (down 5%) of Australians expecting their family to be “better off.”

So here is a tip: Small business customers will be looking for bargains, specials and gifts with purchase. They will also be looking around for better service providers.

For business owners, this means taking time now to send out Christmas cards, build longer-term relationships and find ways to respond to the financial pressures in their markets.

Be warned however. In the pressure to please customers and get that money in the door, don’t take a short-term view on the vital role that staff will play in your new year plans.


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. 

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