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Edition 217 – Why I’m Optimistic?

We’re now two weeks into this period of lockdown in Australia. When it was first mentioned by the New South Wales and Victorian Premiers as a possibility on Sunday 22nd March, 2020, I can honestly say I was both shocked and concerned for the many family businesses across the country.

In actual fact, that afternoon, a raft of emails and text messages were sent by my own clients, wanting to know what they had to do to insulate themselves, which proved my point.

What the past few weeks have shown to me is how adaptable and flexible family businesses are, and how incredibly important they are to the future of Australia and to the employment and wellbeing of millions of Australians.

I’m optimistic for almost all of my clients and for the wider family business community as a whole. Hearing stories of what those businesses are doing when their backs are against the wall is proving how resilient those businesses are and how determined the owners and managers of those businesses are to navigate through choppy waters.

So, today, I wanted to pass on my thoughts as to why I’m optimistic about the future once we exit this phase of our lives:

  1. Working from home will become the new normal in many industries. This will reduce traffic congestion, the need for large corporate offices and long hours away from home, which will, ultimately, benefit the environment. Carbon emission reduction may come not through international protocols, but through individual action.
  2. Businesses will get quicker at everything they do. What used to take weeks in terms of scheduling and prioritising is now days or even hours. We’re focussing more, getting distracted less and, in the process, being more efficient with out time.
  3. Regional areas will boom as people make the decision to move away from the big cities. Why live in an apartment block when, for half the price, a house on acreage in a regional centre with most of the facilities you need for day to day living will suffice?
  4. More education will be delivered remotely – and will be delivered to a timetable that suits the student, not the institution.
  5. Marketing your business consistently in the past is paying dividends now for those businesses that have been relentless at it. Not Facebook. Not Linked In. No spam mail. It’s about reaching out, having conversations, engaging with your prospects, that means those that are good at relationships right now are winning new business right now.
  6. Family businesses will now understand the importance of strategic planning – and focussing only on those areas of their business that they’re good at and make money in. All the other stuff will be thrown out in the rubbish.
  7. Suburban economies will grow and individuals working from home will look to create new “work-social” networks. It’s not going to be a chat at the water cooler any longer. It will be What’s App groups meeting for coffee and connection that will re-generate our need for human interaction.
  8. Family businesses will become more national and more global in their reach. Virtual meetings and the interplay of technology with our daily lives means a client is no longer just in the same suburb or city.
  9. Cashflow management will be critical for all businesses. Having a stash of cash to tide you through any rainy day has never been more important and will create a new mindset.
  10. Stupid spending inside of family businesses will cease. If you’re wasting your finite cash resources, you are undercapitalising the business moving forward.
  11. Manufacturing will be re-invigorated in Australia. No longer can, or should we rely on cheap, foreign imports to drive our lives and our lifestyles. We need to produce more locally so we are more self sufficient, more prosperous and more in control of our own destiny.
  12. We’ll travel more locally, which will bounce back the local tourism market faster. People will choose to travel internationally less, through fear of contracting illness overseas or, perhaps worse, being stuck somewhere where it is hard to return home from. A week sunning ourselves on the Gold Coast, or hiking through the Central Highlands of Tasmania, all where you can drink the water and still enjoy world class health care, will seem far more attractive in the new tomorrow.

Resilience is the key attribute that will not only get us through what we’re experiencing now, but will help us build a better future for ourselves, our families and our family businesses. I’m incredibly optimistic that on the other side of all of this, we’ll be stronger, kinder, wiser, more efficient and less wasteful.

Take a moment to reflect
what are you optimistic about once we emerge from our current situation?