Much like a flagging marathon runner, the US dollar, burdened by an exhausted economy, is in danger of being overtaken by its sprightly Australian equivalent. The Aussie dollar has broken through the US97 cent mark and looks set to achieve parity for the first time in nearly 30 years.
The dollar’s sprint-like surge may have worried exporters, but other start-ups are poised to take advantage. We run through the 10 things you could splash out on with our newly-powerful currency.
Australians are notoriously overcharged for books. Only around 10% of all new books released each year in Australia are domestically published. The cost of importing titles pushes the price up for every genre, including business books.
Whether it’s the biography of a leading entrepreneur or leading titles from this year such as David Kirkpatrick’s The Facebook Effect or Too Big To Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin, the US has a plethora of business books to peruse. Just jump onto Amazon and wield your Australian credit card.
Whether it’s a motivational DVD from Anthony Robbins or health and safety training, the vast range of tools available in the US could now be within your grasp.
You could even select from the range of business-related board games available in the US. If your staff don’t resent you after doing that, you have a positive barometer of their loyalty to your fledgling business.
Items such as jet fuel and aircraft leasing are usually paid for in US dollars, so Virgin Blue and Qantas will be faring well from our dollar’s strength.
If, as expected, these savings aren’t directly passed onto passengers, fares in the Sydney or Melbourne to Los Angeles routes should be favourable. Consider taking this opportunity to take a trip to see business partners or simply experience corporate America.
Laptop brands such as HP and Dell are, generally, much cheaper in the US than Australia. With the Aussie dollar on your side, the option of buying from America becomes even more favourable.
Compatibility is always an issue, so you might want to consider plumping for a Macbook, which has a universal power chord.
If giving presentations are an important part of your business, you may want to invest in a digital projector.
The range of prices available in the US is generally better than Australia, so it’s worth browsing a few websites to see if you can get a good deal. Just remember to buy an adapter plug before that vital client meeting.
The iPad can be found everywhere in the US, even in Target. The ubiquity of the device has pushed down prices and Australian businesses can take advantage.
You might even want to place a pre-order for BlackBerry’s new Playbook, which is set to launch in early 2011 and promises to offer more bells and whistles for business users than the iPad.
There are plenty of US outlets that provide staff uniforms so, if you feel you aren’t getting a good deal domestically, now could be the time to look across the Pacific.
As always, bulk deals will save you money, but be aware of Australian import tariffs if you decide to kit your workers out in particularly expensive garb.
You may be in the formative days of your business’ journey, but it’s never too early to announce yourself to a new market. If you have ambitions beyond Australian shores, it may be worth attending a US trade show to drum up some business.
Even if you don’t plan to expand to the US, attending a trade show on the (relative) cheap should provide a bountiful source of new ideas.
Gordon Gekko braces
With the recent release of Wall Street 2, 1980s business chic is making a mini-revival. Even if you don’t fancy a pin-stripe suit to go with your crushing ruthlessness, you may be able to pick up a few bargains in the basic work wear space.
All this spending on items from the US will put you in the mood for a classic American purchase. If two wheels are your thing and work/life balance is more than just a catchphrase to you, it’s surely got to be a Harley, hasn’t it?