Tag Archives: recession

Recession or not? Who to believe (2)

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

Yesterday I talked about the divergent views around whether or not Canada`s economy is in recession.

It`s made worse by campaign theatrics around who can better manager the economy, like anyone has control over the price of oil.

Consumer spending is up, employment is up. Energy sector is having a rough time.

small bizThe concern is that all this political rhetoric can have a significant impact on small business in what for many should be the best quarter of the year.

I spent 30 years in the newspaper business and weathered two recessions in that time. The first indicators of an economic downturn in both cases came in the automotive and real estate sectors. Both were major advertisers and both cut their advertising budgets by significant amounts.

The Globe and Mail reported Tuesday – ` Excluding the oil, gas and mining sectors, the economy actually grew in the second quarter, thanks to higher consumer spending on the strength of the housing market as well as a modest jump in exports, led by the automotive and energy sectors.`

So, let`s take the optimistic view for the sake of small business in this country.

Make no mistake. We are open for business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Recession or not? Who to believe

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

Are we in a recession and how do you know? Unless you are employed by the oil and gas industry either directly or indirectly, it’s hard to tell.

Canada’s economy shrank for the second straight quarter, the weakest six-month period for growth since the Great Recession, sending the country into a technical recession even as strong growth in June suggest the pain may be short lived.

recessionWhile two consecutive quarters of economic decline qualify as technical recession, both trade and employment numbers have shown positive signs this year, suggesting much of the downturn has been confined to investment in the energy sector.

“If this period is ultimately deemed to be a recession, it will be of the mildest variety and one of the strangest recessions ever,” wrote Bank of Montreal chief economist Douglas Porter in a research note. “Consumer spending was up in both quarters and so too was employment, far from a widespread softening in the economy.”

So, forget the political rhetoric on the campaign trail.

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The really thin market

By Stephen Rhodes

A friend of mine and former colleague in the newspaper world used to train advertising sales people in the value of repetitive advertising, a concept he called The Thin Market, not to be confused with a thin market in the financial marketplace.

cash-reg-for-thin-mktWhen I met Dan Gaynor, he was a former trainer with the Thomson Newspaper empire. He later went on to be a Publisher of several daily newspapers. He developed this “thin market” training program and rolled it out coast to coast in Canada during the early 90s, the last recession.

The thin market says there are consumers ready to buy your product or service every minute of every day in your town, your country and, in this global marketplace, even worldwide. And even in a recesssion.

Dan’s program brought the notion and importance of branding to small daily newspapers struggling to keep advertisers engaged in a slumping economy. The message to advertisers -go small but go every day because someone is always poised to buy.

Strong brands with good market share always survive. Be poised and ready every day and don’t forget the thin market. Keep marketing.

Dan is now President at Gaynor Consulting Inc.

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Dinosaur or dynamo?

newspaperBy Stephen Rhodes

Much is being written about the decline of newspapers in recent weeks.

Time wrote a story recently that predicted the 10 major newspapers most likely to fold or shut their print operations and only publish online. See  http://tinyurl.com/cduxxr

Declining advertising revenues are forcing newspapers to make dramatic cuts. Couple that with declining readership and competition online and elsewhere and it’s tempting to predict the end of an industry. Of course, they said that about radio when television emerged on the scene in the 1950s.

The Internet has eclipsed broadcast as the best vehicle to offer fast news and information but print is still the best place to go to get in-depth analysis and well-researched investigative stories.

Not all newspapers will survive this recession, but the demise of this industry is a long way off.

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Survive and thrive tough times

By Jeff Bowman

When the times get tough…smart businesses not only survive, but thrive!

Do you have it?  That ability to adjust, adapt, transform and grow your business in difficult times? The times are changing and businesses are already noticing differences in trends, changing customer buying habits and more importantly, revenue streams.

I don’t want to be a voice of doom and gloom; in fact there are many positive opportunities to take advantage of when things get a little unsettled.  I am not necessarily talking about a huge economic downturn, but any period of uncertainty or change.

Statistics indicate that in the U.S. (our economic upturns and downturns in Canada mirror those of the United States.) there has been nine recessionary periods since 1948.  These periods of belt tightening tend to last about 11 to 12 months on average.  If you do the math, that leaves periods of economic growth and stability lasting approximately 4 years in between each downturn.  I would hazard to say that a great number of fellow business owners have experienced one or more of these downturns.  The question is, during these times are you building for the future, merely trying to survive or drastically changing the face of your business?

I see first hand on a daily basis, the knee jerk reaction of cost cutting by companies -training, sales and marketing activities, not necessarily in that order.  Our business plans indicate our business will grow, sometimes quickly, other times slowly, but grow none-the- less.  It is our sales efforts, our training programs and our marketing plans that provide us with the skills, knowledge and exposure to grow.  Why would these be the first areas to look at in terms of cuts?

If your competitors continue to sell, even harder, arm their employees with new skill sets to be more productive and creative and continue on a carefully charted course of branding, identity and market presence who will be in a better position 10 or 11 months from now to take advantage of the upturn in the economy?

I have a few simple recommendations that you might consider.  First and foremost, do not cut your prices.  Offer more service! Does the value you present with your product or service decrease over time?  If the value doesn’t change why should the price. (Besides, it is more difficult to raise your price a year later without encountering opposition from your client)

Look at new products or services you can add to your current offering.  Increase your knowledge and skills base to make you more strategic.   Look for new opportunities, online, abroad and within your municipality.

Finally, get out and network, increase your sales and marketing effort and take advantage of opportunities that will present themselves when other companies retrench. You can survive or you can thrive, it is totally up to you.

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