Tag Archives: economy

How does it all work?

its not tv its dot tv

Well, it’s been 6 months in development, three weeks since I started live demonstrations to local businesses and a little over two weeks from our launch, and we are now inundated with questions about what it’s all about.

So, I’ll try my hardest to explain the whole purpose of waggawagga.tv.  This year, we are completely re-launching waggawagga.tv into a LIVE 24/7 online entertainment and information portal.  You will be able to log onto our website anywhere in the world and find our 24/7 channel streaming shows, interviews, sport, and productions on local Wagga Wagga businesses.

What’s more, visitors to our city will be able to log onto waggawagga.tv and access our library of video-on-demand productions, plus a directory that promotes retail, hospitality, service industries, arts, sport and a whole lot more!

We are giving the business people of Wagga Wagga the chance to become part of something very special.  Something that has not been done before within a regional city – or even in metropolitan areas.  The ability to both advertise their business directly to their target market – the people of Wagga Wagga – and be a central part of a brand new way of communicating Wagga’s unique voices, characters and culture to the world via the power of the web!

WaggaWagga.TV will have a 24/7 running channel known as a “play out” system and will showcase original, replayed and live content via Livestream Australia as the portal.

This means viewers will be watching something streamed every time they log onto the site and it can be of a variety of things such as local productions of entertainment, live events, sports and commentary from around Wagga and the country, replayed content that has already been broadcast on the site, advertisements of local businesses, organisations and events.

Local businesses have the opportunity to be found within the site via a directory that comes in three options;

  1. Free directory with lead photo, listing of business name, logo, phone number, address and website plus opening hours
  2. Photo gallery with listing of above, plus, 5 x photos, description of your business and features of your business highlighted – $19.95/month ($10 per month extra for priority placement.)
  3. Video gallery with listing of above, plus up to 5 videos of any length showcasing what the business has to offer, live social links to your social media pages plus up to 5 x attachments or external link buttons.  These could be used to put up menus if you’re a restaurant, brochures of your products or services or a live link to your pay-wall or shopping cart if your website supports purchasing online. $39.95/month ($15 per month extra for priority placement.)  Visitors to the site will be able to search via industry pages, or through a quick search box on the site.  If they choose to search via pages or by any other manual means, the video listings will appear at the top of each page with the largest thumbnails, followed by the photo gallery listings and then finally the FREE business listings.  Priority listings appear above these.

Here is the video explaining the Directory with our local hosts.

CLICK HERE: Directory Video with Hosts

WaggaWagga.TV has joined forces with a new and exciting production company, “Clean Slate Media” and together they will produce the following content for the platform;

-        “The Adam Drummond Show” which will include celebrity interviews, comedy sketches, local commentary and more in a variety style format for the online market

-        “The 5 O’Clock Wave” – previously an explicit, comedy podcast, on the new platform it will be re-born with regular hosts, Adam Drummond, Matt Olsen and Jamie Way with guests and funny anecdotes but with the same local commentary and viewpoints

-        “Unleash the Geek” featuring reviews and news on all things “geek” such as gaming updates, film and TV, entertainment and more, hosted by Liam Campbell a Wagga High student and Brenna Temple, a loveable Canadian lass who is new to Wagga Wagga

-        “Brenna Obviously” – speaking of Brenna Temple, she will also be hosting her own special show all about the quirky things happening in our city from an outsider’s point of view.  It captures Wagga beautifully but also features the honest perspective of the equally quirky and vivacious Canadian local, Brenna

-        “Upload” where locals have the opportunity to send in things from around Wagga they have filmed and then our production team will edit, tidy up and format as part of a show

-         “What’s Up Wagga?” is a Vox Pop style show hosted by well-known local identities who take to the streets and ask all sorts of questions that are relevant to our area – hosts will include Grant Luhrs and Sarah Wentworth-Perry

-        “Your House” and other format shows – these will be a mixture of genres including; Entertainment, lifestyle, business, sport, children’s content and more as we build our program content.  Your House will be not only walks through unique Wagga properties, but also styling tips for inside and outside your own home as hosted by award winning blogger Katrina Chambers, known to a lot of Australians as a contestant on The Block a few years ago

-        “Sweet Shorts” is hosted by well-known local and National sports champion, Joe Williams and showcases the amazing talent we have in our region via short films made by locals – they are AMAZING!

We also have some programs in development with hosts such as Sarah Burnell following local stories and Ashley Shaw with a program all about music called “Gigs”, as well as shows all about the great outdoors such as motor shows, shows about fishing and camping and even pushing the boundaries of fitness with sporting challenges involving one of our best known local athletes.   Stay tuned.

So, yes, we have lots going on and it is all thanks to Grant Harper of Livestream Australia (wait until you see how your sport or business can be featured on our platform using Grant’s livestreaming capabilities – it will blow your mind) and Matt Olsen from Clean Slate Media who produces 95% of all our content and is the first point of call for you if you need a video made for your business and you don’t already have one.

Remember the 15th May starting at 6.30pm – FREE to the general public who have access to their own bar, food and band or if you are looking to splash out and join the red carpet line up for $99 + booking fee, you will be guided along the red carpet with the celebrities at 7pm and have included in your ticket price food, drink and Jarryn Phegan as entertainment all in the member’s lounge.  We had sold out of these tickets but I’ve got permission to open up to another 50 people, so be quick if you want the VIP treatment by clicking here.  Or for ALL the information about the night, click here.

The Deception in Advertising

call to actionFor an audio version of this BLOG, click play below.

I think that as a society we have become really apprehensive about where we spend our money when it comes to promoting our business.  I’ll never forget a quote I read on The Wagga Business Chamber’s Facebook page once:

“The trouble with small businesses is that they think like a small business” – and being a small business operator it strikes me how true that statement is.  I’m constantly challenged by the stress associated with deciding where the best ROI will be when promoting our business (and when I was a consultant it was even harder!)

So as a business community, we are really quick to put the hand up and say “no, not for me” before even knowing what something is.  I do it all the time with telemarketers.  No sooner have they said “Hi Mr Drummond, I want to share with you a way to make thousands of dollars more per year” than they hear the sound of a reversing bus on the line.  “No, not for me.”

And hence my title of today’s blog post.  “The Deception in Advertising”.  The deception is that advertising in different mediums is NOT for everyone, as much as those in advertising would like to believe.  I’m now in advertising and I’d love to shout from the roof tops that what we are offering is for every single business – but that’s not true.  For starters we are online and not everyone is online.  We are also locally based and not everyone cares about what is happening in someone else’s town.

Beyond those obvious issues though are far more tangible ones.  Advertising on waggawagga.tv is not for the following business people:

-        We already make enough money so there is no need to promote ourselves

-        We are extremely comfortable with our current advertising budget and don’t see a need to reinvent the wheel

-        We have more customers than we can poke a stick at, so don’t need any more coming into our space

-        We are not believers in the fact that consumers make decisions online when surfing the web (not convinced of online advertising)

-        We don’t know if people would log on to watch local content just because there is local content on there – we are sceptical as to whether or not they will come back

-        Our target market is over 55’s only and we don’t think they will log onto social media sites or watch local content online

Pretty much anyone who has these sentiments (even one or more) may not be suitable for what we are offering.  It may seem strange for me to bring these points up, but I’m a massive believer in creating conversations around objections before they become objections.  In my real estate days I even had a term for it as scribbled down at a national real estate conference in 2004 when Michael Sheargold referred to it as “framing” the situation.  What’s the point of sweeping legitimate concerns under the carpet in the hope that people won’t think about those legitimate concerns?

So far we have had an amazing amount of support from both small and large businesses keen to give this new medium a shot.  Here is a sample of what a lot of them are saying:

-        We are targeting a younger demographic and the shows you are producing and are planning to produce will speak to that demographic

-        We like the idea that we have time to tell a story in an engaging way through the medium of video and it won’t cost us a bucket load

-        We like to be associated with new and exciting ventures that benefit our city

-        If it isn’t where people are right now, it’s only a matter of time and we love what you are producing (even though technically we haven’t even seen it yet!)

-        “Mate, it’s that inexpensive at the moment – what am I even risking?”

-        We’ve got to try new things because if nothing changes nothing changes, and we need things to change

So there is the balance to this little blog.  Yes, we won’t be for everyone and it would be naïve to think otherwise, but yes, we will appeal to others who are cutting edge and want to be in a space they currently have little control over.  (The biggest common element I’ve discovered over a two week period speaking to over 60 business people is that most of them either have a video or know that a video would help their business promotion, but nearly no one had a suitable place to HOUSE the video.)

If there is deception in advertising, it is quite often just thinking that one shoe fits all, when clearly everyone has different sized feet.  Choose the shoe that promotes you the best…well…you know what I mean.

Adam Drummond is an actor, presenter, speaker and CEO of waggawagga.tv

If you would like to know more about what waggawagga.tv is and how it may benefit your business through either advertising or by appearing in the business directory, simply email info@waggawagga.tv or call 02 6971 7771.  One on one demonstrations of the site are still available if you would like to see it with your own eyes.

“Seriously, mate – just tell me what the #@*% it is…”

Don’t have time to read all of this?  Click for the audio version.

The steepest bloody learning curve of my life, is what it is!  But this particular enlightenment “tell me what the #@*% it is…” came straight after one of my presentations to local businesses wanting to know more about waggawagga.tv.  And believe it or not, it wasn’t said in a nasty way – quite the opposite – it was encouraging!

“Adam,” this particular person who I admire said after seeing my demo, “that was 98% a great demonstration of what your product is – it’s new, it’s exciting, it solves a lot of problems for businesses locally, and the presentation was terrific…but I just want to give you advice on the 2% that can be improved ever so slightly, if I may?”

Being the sponge I am for more knowledge and never telling a dairy cow not to provide milk (I thought of that analogy whilst typing, feel free to use it where you see fit) I simply said – “please fill me in, I need all the help I can get.”

“Well,” he continued, “it took about two or three minutes for you to describe your product.  I would highly recommend you tell your audience within the first two to three seconds.  Do you think you can do that?”

You’ll notice he didn’t actually swear.  But he was saying, “I’ve come to find out more, I’m there for 45 to 60 minutes – I want to know why I’m there straight away.”  And that makes sense.

“Of course I can.  Thanks for the tip” and I’ve been saying what the product is within two to three seconds ever since.  I can’t thank this bloke enough for his encouraging advice, and I won’t say who he is, but he knows who I’m referring to…after all I’m directly quoting him about three days after he said these words…and again disclaimer…I’ve never heard this bloke swear…ever…That’s my paraphrasing to grab attention in the heading.

This is NOW how I start my presentations:

“We are an online media and short-form entertainment platform, promoting local business through advertising opportunities and providing a major business directory for locals and tourists.”

There…I guess you could also call that our Mission Statement.  We want to create an audience interested in specifically local entertainment and information content and in doing so, grow the audience for local businesses who promote themselves on our new media site.

Probably one of the most important distinctions between what we will be providing and what other media outlets provide, is the short-form and online nature of our content.  We will have a 24/7 broadcast operating in the site that we expect most people will not sit down to and digest in 30 minutes or a couple of hours like traditional TV or radio, or even like online streaming services such as STAN and Netflix.  Our platform slips into the social media market, the YouTube audiences and those doing a bit of web surfing.  They’ll flick through online channels such as Facebook, Twitter, watch a video on YouTube, check out the scores from the weekend sports and then come to waggwagga.tv to find out what’s on locally.

And another distinction I want to make very clear to businesses everywhere…your advertising budget should suit your target market, your reach and your frequency.  In other words the audience for local terrestrial TV, radio and print does not go away just because there are more tangible options now available online.  It’s really important to maintain your brand’s exposure over as many mediums as possible.  If anything, the trick is to choose when and how often it appears.

I can even speak from experience having just booked my first ever air time with STAR FM locally.  Even though yes, we are another media outlet, and yes we will be asking for advertising to create a revenue stream, we still need to market ourselves, and radio has a great local audience.  It may be a different demographic to those attending a local retirement expo, but it’s the audience we are after.

People still pick up a magazine or read the local paper, so it depends on who you are wanting to reach and how often you want to reach them.

I guess the other problem we are helping to solve for local businesses, is we are giving them a place to present their business in a video format.  Many people I’ve met have already made fantastic videos that showcase their offerings but the strategy around exposure has been a bit hit and miss.  After being on your website for six months, or your Facebook page and YouTube account – or even the Vimeo account of your production company, the views start to drop off dramatically.  Here we are giving you an affordable place to house your productions, whether they be through our video directory listing or our broadcast system.

And finally, you have time to breathe.  Not just now because you’ve managed to read all of this, but in the way you promote yourself on our platform.  Because of the nature of online broadcast, we can give businesses the space to tell a real story about themselves or their customers.  Our promotions can be 1, 2 or even 3 minutes in duration and tell a great story that customers will be interested in.  In fact we want audiences to feel these promotions are part of the content itself rather than an interruption to the content.  Narrative driven video promotions are the way of the future and now as a business you have a place to tell your many unique stories.

I hope you can join us on this exciting journey, a first of its kind in Australia (as far as anyone can tell) and beginning right here in good old Wagga Wagga.  Come and join us on May 15th at the MTC Wagga for our official launch as we make the site live and start entertaining locals in a completely new format with familiar faces, favourite local destinations and a true Wagga flavour.  Sponsors can contact me for packs that promote you before the night, on the night and after the night by emailing info@waggawagga.tv   General public are completely free and will have access to a bar and food as well as entertainment by Groove Factorie.  VIP tickets to the Members Lounge at the MTC are available for $99 plus booking fee with drink, food, celebrity meet and greets and entertainment provided all night in the ticket price.  Book your VIP ticket here or for more information about the platform, to make an enquiry about being involved or for more information about launch night, click here.

MFAA Social Media Speech

I just had the great privilege of speaking to 30 plus local brokers at the Regional MFAA seminar held here in Wagga Wagga.

The MFAA (Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia) have accredited brokers who pride themselves on being up to date with industry best practice and legislative compliance as well as providing outstanding service to their clients.

My presentation was on the local real estate market and the majority was about social media changes and the need to be a part of online and social media marketing as consumers change their purchasing habits and online presence becomes more and more important to running a profitable business.

It was a bright and energetic audience with great questions and an open mind to new ideas on consistency and reach of online marketing and social media strategies.

I highly recommend that if you are in the process of screening brokers for your purchasing needs, you check that they are a member of the MFAA first.

What’s the Wagga Market Doing in 2013?

The most commonly asked question to a real estate agent: “What’s happening with the market?”

With interest rates as low as they currently are, a drop in house prices across the board over a three year period and development potential in the Wagga Wagga region, all signs point to a pick up in the real estate market – the question is; “when”?

Let’s look at the current snap shot of Wagga. First of all sales activity has increased compared to this time last year. Whilst there are still over 1,000 properties for sale in the Wagga Wagga area (according to realestate.com.au) sales volume has almost doubled compared to January 2012 (as compared with Fitzpatricks Real Estate results in 2013).  The number of buyers at open inspections has also increased from an average of 2.8 for the 2011-2012 year to an average of 4.8 in the 2012-2013 year.  This means properties are experiencing lower days on market and turnover has increased.

But why are prices still so low?  Volume of sales and quicker turn around periods are only part of the story.  Just because there are slightly more buyers in the market place doesn’t mean they still don’t have an abundance of properties to choose from, and this fact keeps prices highly competitive.  The other factor is the amount of over priced listings in the current market place.  These properties make it easier for buyers to choose other alternatives – cheaper alternatives.

So what will the pendulum do over the next 11 months to close off 2013?

Some economists are predicting very little movement in prices, increases in properties for sale and what we refer to as a stagnant market.  Things sell, but slowly and with very little competition to drive prices up.  This is due to market volatility, potential change of government in September and a shaky outlook on foreign financial markets.

Other economists, particularly locals, feel that Wagga may be cushioned from any national or international instability due to the large amount of retail, commercial and government development about to occur.  They say low interest rates, low vacancy factors and affordable prices will only add to the attractive prospect of new jobs and an increase in population as developments unfold, increasing demand and possibly outweighing supply.

So where should you stand on these two views?

My answer has always been to take what you have in any market and move when you need to rather than wait to see what may or may not happen.  I remember when my wife and I were selling in order to upgrade in 2008 and prices had been steady for quite some time.  we weren’t to know that in only a few months the Government would announce stimulus to the First Home Buyers increasing their grant from $7,000 to $21,000 plus State bonuses in effect driving competition and prices up for nearly 12 months.  We could have been upset that we potentially missed out on thousands of dollars, but we could only do what we could do at the time.  A further 18 months later and the market contracted when the incentive bubble burst leaving almost everyone with a capital loss for that same period.

There is no difference here.  There may be a modest increase in property prices in the future due to an increase in demand from the $640,000,000 worth of development in our region (add another $400,000,000 if the Chinese Bulky Goods Exhibition Centre comes off!) but we could also see any number of global and national factors effect the local market too.

A couple of Saturdays ago I was organising an event that was to be performed outside at the local Amphitheatre.  For three weeks we experienced perfect weather with a forecast 24 hours before the show indicating a 90% chance of storms and rain.  I promptly changed the location to an indoor venue in case the storms hit.  As it turns out there was some light wind but no rain and no thunder either.  What we were able to do was adapt to potential conditions for a successful night.  That’s what we have to do with the real estate market.  There may be storms or sunny days ahead, but you have no control over the weather.  You do have control over your own environment though – so adjust your property’s position in the market as opposed to waiting for the market to adjust for your property.

Adam Drummond has been selling properties in Wagga Wagga for over a decade and is one of the go-to people for all things real estate in the media having appeared regularly for ABC Riverina, WIN TV and Prime News.  For more information on how to sell your property in the Wagga Wagga area, contact Adam directly on 0413 571 974 or adam@adamdrummond.com.au.

How to Tell When the Market Will Change

It sounds impossible doesn’t it.  Everyone always says, “there’s no crystal ball, but when will the market change?”  And they’re right.  There is no crystal ball – but there are signs.

Take the 2009 NSW residential property balloon as an example.  When the inflated first home buyer grant was reduced back to normal levels, buyers were no longer competing for entry level homes.  This had a flow on effect throughout the market as sellers of entry level homes could no longer upgrade.

At the same time the full effects of the Global Financial Crisis were yet to hit Australian shores.

In fact, the “Build a Better Education” scheme and increased first home buyer scheme were deemed by the Government at the time to be our saviours during economic turmoil.  They believed the stimulus created jobs and construction activity, but forgot to have a plan in place for when it all came to an END.

And end it did.  All pretty much at the same time.

Now, crystal balls aside, the writing was on the wall.  Supply had increased and demand had decreased – sharply.  Investors were nervous about foreign debt, shaky job figures and a Reserve Bank that seemed content to wait it out.

But what were the market signs?

  • longer days on market
  • increased competition with supply

Within months, listing prices began to drop.  From there, the number of sales dropped.  And finally, selling prices dropped.  In some cases up to 10% from the purchase price to the sale price.

And here we are with some subtle signs of recovery in – Wagga Wagga at least.

  • Population growth for the last 12 months is higher than forecast
  • $640mil in private and public development and infrastructure is being invested into the local economy
  • Interest rates are still low
  • Employment is steady

and here is the big one;

  • Compared to June/July 2011 when there were 1,180 properties advertised in the local paper, 2012 June/July figures show 885 properties advertised (supply is lower)

Now whilst demand has not increased exponentially, less properties on the market means less to choose from which will increase competition.  This coupled with some local economic confidence will lead to a slight increase in buyer demand as will the increased population growth.

So there is no crystal ball, and absolute predictions are impossible…but you tell me – “is the writing on the wall”?

Company Proactivity will Save the Day

As we hear of various companies facing financial hardship, some going into voluntary administration such as Darrell Lea (an 85 year old company) and Fletcher Jones late last year (a 100 year old company) all businesses should be posing the question; how do we safeguard our future.

Many will say the writing was on the wall for a long time, and those who have experienced recessions (or depressions as the above companies would have) may have mistakenly thought that markets will recover and times would turn around again shortly. This line of thought though is fraught with danger. For starters it fosters a belief that you can continue to travel at the speed and distance you always have, because eventually things will get better and so too will the bottom line. However, nothing happens overnight, and in this case there have been nearly two and a half years of “overnights”.

The only way for business to survive in this day and age is to adapt, and adapt quickly. With historically fantastic years in retail, hospitality and services such as finance, vehicle and real estate sectors, business owners could fly by the seat of their pants as money rolled in and budgets weren’t even considered to be necessary. Fast forward to 2010, and things had to change. The bottom line had to be analysed and net profits had to be saved as opposed to distributed. If you waited until 2012 to do this, you waited too long.

Markets can change and consumer sentiment and confidence can drop, but business must go on. If this means thinking outside the square with regards to dealing with stock on hand or creating customer payment plans to increase cash flow, then you have to adapt quickly or risk NO net profit. When things are good, business owners don’t need to count the money, they just watch it come in. When things turn bad, business owners need to count everything – dollars at the top and dollars at the bottom, number of customers, level of repeat business, volume of stock – that’s right, all the basics and all the things that should have been counted from day one but get neglected in times of boom or even times of consistency.

And of course the other issue that arises when safe guards haven’t been put in place early enough is wages. All of a sudden when the bottom line is thin, the staff wage line in the expenses column looks really, really large. Owners who haven’t cut back in other areas then panic and look at reducing staff numbers. Not only does this have an impact on your business because service levels suffer and clients look elsewhere when you’re trying so hard to get them to stay where they are, it also has a global effect on – you guessed it – consumer sentiment and spending patterns.

So what are seven quick tips to ensure you are ready for any further changes?

1. Look immediately at all non return on investment items that you spend on. Things such as fresh flowers delivered to your foyer or other things you don’t see an immediate return on.

2. Negotiate terms for stock on hand with your suppliers. Put at least some of the pressure back onto them by changing the way you purchase stock. Ask for 50% on delivery and 50% on sale. They can only say “no” but if you get a few that say “yes” your cash flow will improve.

3. Give customers payment options for large goods to increase attractiveness to purchase from you over your competitors. 3 – 6 month payment plans or similar terms to the ones you have arranged with your supplier will make you look flexible and easier to deal with.

4. Turn to email. How much physical mail do you send? Invoices, receipts, newsletters, reminders – spend the next six months building an effective client email database and start saving on print and mailing costs.

5. Review staff KPIs. Better than losing jobs and better than reducing hours, staff Key Performance Indicator bonuses should be reviewed. If things are tough for company targets then staff targets need to be tougher too. By increasing target numbers you will only reward staff when it is rewarding to the business.

6. Review sponsorship and community benefit budget. How much did you spend on the community last year. All businesses are generous to the community but often at the detriment of staff. Again it comes down to not knowing how much you spend each year. Ad hoc decisions have to stop. Allocate a percentage of net profit to the community and stick to it. You have to learn to say “no”.

7. Contact your existing clients by way of survey or invitation into the shop. Anything that will allow you to reconnect and keep your name top of mind without spending huge amounts of money.

And finally in conclusion, work out how much your target is for expense reduction and make it happen. If it works out you need to save $2,000 a month or $50,000 a month, go for it. In 12 months time when gross profit is the same or even down a little bit, your bottom line will have improved and hopefully your staff and service levels remain the same if not better!

Adam Drummond is one of the Directors of Fitzpatricks Real Estate, a public speaker, co-founder of Wagga Business NetworX and Ignite Mentor as well as an avid blogger. All opinions are his own and not necessarily those of his co-Directors, affiliated organisations or his family. For any financial or business related advice always rely on your own situation and financial needs and refer to your accountant or business coach before taking action.

Boost for building industry

WAGGA’S slowing building industry is hoping major incentives offered in yesterday’s state budget will invigorate new home builds.
The first homeowner grant – available to buyers of new properties worth up to $650,000 – will more than double to $15,000 from October 1, 2012 and then continue at $10,000 from January 1, 2014.

[button url="http://www.dailyadvertiser.com.au/news/local/news/general/boost-for-building-industry/2588555.aspx" target="_blank" size="medium" style="tealgrey" ]Read the Whole Article[/button]

Where Has All The Spending Gone?

Interest rates are on hold, jobs are so far secure, incomes are steady and Government incentives still exist – so the question has to be asked, why is spending on the decrease?

Consumer confidence is at a stand off with economic conditions.  Whilst Australia is “miles” ahead of its Western contemporaries, Australians are still cautiously holding back on the big ticket items, such as property and durable household goods.  You know things are tough when Gerry Harvey is insisting everyone dig deep to help him out!  Despite huge discounts on Plasma, LED and LCD TV screens, (they are worth about a quarter of what they were when they were first advertised) sales are down.

So who is being hit the hardest?  If you take certain industries and analyse them one by one on individual merits, you will notice there are concerns that will eventually slip into other industries, as collateral damage is caused by the initial side effects from one industry to the next.  Take the building industry as an example.  Once a thriving and driving force behind Australia’s steady growth, it is now underpinned by uncertainty and lack of demand.  The Gold Coast is a prime example of what can go wrong when demand eases and supply is abundant.

The next industry to be effected in the Gold Coast was of course Real Estate, with prices dropping faster than Newton’s first apple on his head.  Tourism played a part too, in the decline in building demand and real estate prices.  Go beyond that of course and you have labourers being laid off, resulting in single income households trying to sustain mortgages or rents.

Then the finance industry is being effected as banks take over responsibility and begin to offload properties to regain their asset base before it’s too late and again we enter the flooded real estate market.  Whilst this has been the scene on the Gold Coast for some time now, the early signs of stress are being seen in regional and metropolitan areas as well.  My concern here in the bush is that small to medium and even large local businesses will be forced to tighten purse strings, resulting in decisions about staff and viability of the business moving forward.

From first hand experience in the real estate industry, the first measure is cutting expenses drastically.  Looking back at the previous financial year with a magnifying glass, soon illustrates where frivolous spending has occurred and can be reduced immediately.  However, reducing expenses only goes so far when net incomes have been halved and in some cases are even more dire.

Depreciative items then have to be questioned.  How many printers do we really need?  Can the odd company car be sold and then not replaced?  The next step before going into more cuts, is where can we increase income?  Are there any opportunities out there we haven’t previously analysed?  Is there a sign of weakness in our competitors we can tap into?  What initiatives can we implement without spending a single cent?  And finally – the issue you want to avoid – staff.  As Mark Bouris so eloquently pointed out in his Sunday Telegraph Editorial on 4th September, “…in tough times most (business owners) would rather eat spaghetti on toast for six months than lay off staff or close down”.

The best thing business owners can do is start a plan for the inevitable time when a staff member resigns.  Then, knowing it was going to come sooner or later – not replace the staff member.  You learn to spread productivity around the office.  You rally the troops to make it work.  You even work the extra hour or three to monitor the effectiveness of the plan.  Industries in sales face this dilemma in the coming months.  Sales are down.  Spending is down and confidence is down.  It’s not just a case of preparing for the storm, it’s a case of learning to survive throughout the storm.

Where has all the spending gone?  It hasn’t yet.  We need to back ourselves in and remember that a roof over our head and food in our mouths are luxuries other parts of the world only dream of.  We need to focus on reducing ridiculous credit debts and start paying off the mortgage (principal not just the interest) and we need to (in Gerry Harvey’s concerned words) “start spending”.  Just be smart about where you spend your money.