A Microcosm of the Economy
So, what do you believe? Is the economy coming back? Most economists say yes, but slowly. Most businesses say maybe-some are seeing more positive signs than others. Most people say not yet. However, the challenge may be that the “recovered” economy doesn’t look much like the robust economy of yesterday.
Some businesses will never recover. They lost too much ground, cut too deep and failed to make the necessary change to their business model to adjust and survive.
Many types of jobs may never come back. Smart businesses found ways to improve productivity, lowering the labor costs permanently. And other companies used technology to transform business, changing the job qualifications for many types of hourly jobs, from receptionist to medical records to manufacturing technicians who need to be trained on new equipment and processes. Unemployment may stay higher than the traditional norm as people have to be retrained to take advantage of the types of jobs offered in the new economy, and that takes time.
But there may be some really encouraging news and reason to get serious about reviving our businesses. So let’s take a look at the news in one city in America on a given day and read the “flavor” of the economy.
Which city? How about Nashville, TN? A great city with lots of personality, strong brand and a well connected business community. Their major industries are well known: country music and healthcare; yet, with a diverse business composite, they don’t experience the severity of peaks and valleys as many areas of the country. That doesn’t mean they didn’t feel the heat of the recession. Where are they today?
Here is what is happening in the news in Nashville:
- Asurion is pursuing an expansion of its corporate headquarters, having grown rapidly since moving their HQ to Nashville from California.
- Mars Petcare seeks expansion; doubling its footprint.
- Recession may encourage retired nurses to come back to hospitals, helping dissipate the nursing shortage. Net employment for hospitals is up 12% over this time last year.
- Big ticket item sales are up for items like cars and refrigerators (as measured by sales tax collections), an indicator that new money is starting to flow through businesses. The purchase of durable goods, such as automobiles, is often one of the first indication of economic growth.
- A new $25 million fund for small business loans is being created in partnership between the state and private lenders.
- Nearly half of the SBA lenders increased their loan volumes this month as a result of the Small Business Jobs Act (survey: Terry and Associates)
Tomorrow, the news may not be as rosy. Recovery is not a linear path. Now is the time for businesses to act. Growth is not going to be easy. Customers are not going to just flock to you. Here is what is needed:
- Selectively invest in your business.
- Re-tool your strategy to respond to the new economy. Customers needs and priorities are changing–they are open to new solutions that are faster, better and simpler.
- Get granular-gather specific data on your market and your customer to see what specific gaps there are in meeting needs.
- Focus your business; manage resources by prioritizing what is important and stopping what is being done purely out of habit.
- Inspire your people to serve as a collective brain trust, together moving forward faster.
–Article written by Margaret Reynolds of Reynolds Consulting, LLC—
Reynolds Consulting, LLC specializes in helping leaders create and maintain high performance companies.
(News was taken from the Nashville Business Journal on 10/29/10).