I have been visiting a number of the RedBalloon experience suppliers (many of whom are small enterprises)– meeting with them first hand to get a good understanding of how business is tracking and what is going on in their businesses.
I’ve discovered unanimously that they are all of one mind, that is, as times look increasingly uncertain, more than ever businesses need to reinforce the great relationships that they have. Whether that is with employees, customers, distributors, suppliers or other key stakeholders. They are telling me that ‘Now is very much a time for consolidation, for building on what is great and not becoming distracted – to do what they do best’. (Jim Collins asked the question in Good to Great – ‘What are you the best in the world at?’ To know this is to have focus.
There is an opportunity in a downturn, but it is also a time to grow from one’s strengths.
If seven of Australia’s top 10 trading partners are in ‘recession’ then perhaps there might be a greater return on effort in doing business domestically.
Someone once said to me when talking about Australia’s exports to China. ‘Do you really think that China will say “ooh let’s look after Australia’s interests they are such lovely people” China will look after China first’. Perhaps we could do the same.
We play on a global stage; the world has never been so small and will increasingly get smaller. But that does not mean we ignore the communities that we are a part of.
As I visit my suppliers they say “the best thing RedBalloon can do for us is kept sending us business,” then, in turn, they will keep employing, growing, and supporting other businesses.
I remember years ago there was a buy Australia policy. I don’t suggest that we return to that. Australian businesses must be internationally competitive – and best of class. However, as I also work with some major Australian (and New Zealand) companies and it is just as important for major organisations to buy Australian – and support local innovation.
Here’s the thing, stop importing ‘stuff’ which produces clutter on the planet anyway. I give the example; if you give someone a ‘vase’… manufactured overseas, transported to Australia (at what carbon cost to the planet) – it sits and gathers dust until it finally becomes landfill. Instead, buy something Australian – give someone something that Australia is truly great at such as, design, activities, entertainment, gourmet food… there is lot’s to discover – if we make the effort to do so.
If an Australian company is thinking of importing plastic skies from China as Christmas gifts for its staff. Stop, and think about the impact to Australia (and the environment) and how such an investment could better be spent supporting Australia.
(With the fluctuations in currency we’ve even found printing in Australia now is relatively a whole lot cheaper). Have fun exploring what we are best in the world at… in fact, add a comment below on what Australia (or New Zealand) are the world’s best at….