Thursday, February 19, 2009

7 Opportunities in the Current Recession

If you read just one blogpost this year, this is the one.

I attended the Wisdom Exchange today at the Mars Discovery District in Toronto, an annual gathering of leading growth firms sponsored by the Ontario government. Ontario’s ministry of small business recognizes that a tiny minority of SMEs, the export-oriented gazelles, account for a disproportionate share of job creation, and it does a great job of encouraging, motivating and supporting the CEOs of such companies through educational opportunities such as the Wisdom Exchange.

I moderated a panel on financial alternatives in challenging times, where I learned a lot about purchase-order financing and angel investment. I also attended an excellent session on innovation, by U.S. innovation expert Scott Anthony of Innosight, and heard an inspiring first-person turnaround story from John Keating, CEO of Cambridge, Ont.-based Com Dev International. You will be hearing more about all these topics later in this space.

For today, I want to share with you a portion of a presentation from Jayson Myers, the respected economist who now heads up Canada's largest industry association, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.

Myers offered a fair bit of bad news to the group – he warned that the recession “will be deeper and last longer than consensus forecasts,” and that total Canadian merchandise exports have actually been falling for six years. He also cited several major business risks going forward, such as: further turmoil in financial markets, China (especially if it ever tires of financing U.S. deficits), the US treasury market, and appreciation in the Canadian dollar.

But here is the good news. Myers also cited a whole listfull of business opportunities created by the current downturn. Not every company is in a position to seize these opportunities, but those who can should definitely be looking at this list as a recipe for action.

Opportunities in the Current Recession:

· For companies with cash and investment strength
· Replace competitors (who falter or struggle in this economy)
· Acquisitions
· Respond to new and emerging customer demand
· New product and market development
· Infrastructure and Innovation (including the smart grid, green energy, health care, logistics and security, and energy – all areas where Canadian companies have some advantages)
· Product specialization, services, new processes, new skills

Print out this list and stick it on your fridge. It’s your way out of this economy.


Anonymous said...

As with every economic downturn, one of the advantages for companies that survive, is it leaves them stronger and in a better position to capitalize on the economic regrowth.

It's important, in some ways, to get back to the fundamentals and use this sometimes slow period to look at reasonable options for new business start-up or - for existing businesses - turning slow into grow.

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