Scraping the frost off the crystal ball

I’ve always thought the two best jobs in the world are a weather person (sorry, meteorologist) and an economist. I thought they were easy jobs because, on any given day, nobody expects you to be right!

Dr. Warren Jestin, Scotiabank’s Chief Economist, disproved my myth about economists with his advice and perspectives when he addressed several hundred people at the Regina Chamber of Commerce’s breakfast on a frigid, February morning.

The best part was: he didn’t use PowerPoint! No boring slides, no detailed spreadsheets that you can’t read (or don’t want to), no fuzzy graphs, and no ‘supply = demand’ which every entrepreneur knows to be a ridiculous and useless way to run a business.

Key issues on every entrepreneur’s mind: what will interest rates do, will the banks lend more money, where will the Canadian dollar be, what’s going on in the economy?

Dr. Jestin delivered this key information for entrepreneurs:

  1. Commodity prices will continue to increase and this is good news for Canada, a commodity rich country, in a commodity constrained world.
  2. Oil prices, which have bounced in between $35 and $140 per barrel in the last couple of years, will continue to increase due to global demand.
  3. Interest rates will rise and remain at higher levels due to increased borrowing and deficit financing by major governments.
  4. The Canadian dollar will continue to rise due to Canada’s stable investment climate, resource base and fiscal prudence. If you’re an exporter, ‘get used to it’ says Dr. Jestin.
  5. China is increasing its domestic market, wages are rising, internal demand is rising, and it will be less price competitive as an exporter (eventually).

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Dr. Jestin’s advice for entrepreneurs:

  • The economic realities are different than before, will keep changing, and you will need new strategies for profitable, sustainable growth.
  • Increase your competitiveness by training your people, leveraging technology and increasing your productivity.
  • If you’re a manufacturer, expand your role with your customers by providing more services and advice, adding distribution and increasing your value to your customers.
  • Pressure governments to control health costs, reduce ‘print more money’ deficit financing, and support skill development.
  • There are major opportunities in energy conservation and environmental impacts.

The bottom line: we can help our clients and customers be more successful in this new economic climate by quickly adapting to the new realities instead of hanging on to the past.

And, yes, the banks will lend money – provided that your business plan reflects the new realities and positions you for success.

To see all the pretty economic charts and graphs, go here.

What are you doing differently to grow your business, strengthen your competitiveness and succeed in the new economy?

Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved. Phil Symchych.


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