Not all doom and gloom

22 June 2010

I’ve been reading articles and attending a few events this past week that suggest the global outlook is not as bad as we all initially thought although the eurozone is still not out of the woods. The latest global outlook view from McKinsey1 which interviewed over 1800 executives worldwide in June 2010 suggests that about a third of companies are still hiring and a strong majority expect profits to increase whilst 10% less since April 2010, are expecting demand to increase. A staggering 79% of executives are expecting the euro to fall in value over the next 3 months, albeit by less than 10% against the dollar. Those in the eurozone are more gloomy, with a third predicting a double-dip recession in their countries and more than a third expecting their workforce to shrink in 2010. This is in stark contrast to Asia Pacific, China and Asia where executives are much more bullish about recruitment.

We have a two tier growth pattern which will accelerate the future dominance of the Far East and Asian markets given the messages coming from Sir Digby Jones at the recent ITT travel conference and from the Entrepreneurcountry2 event “In a world with no money” last week. We had better be ready for the shift we are going to see as demand accelerates for Mandarin and for specialists who understand how international trade is done in Far East and Asian markets. I was intrigued to hear the story about Daisy Raffan the 19 year old entrepreneur who learnt Mandarin from the age of 5, set up aged 17 and now has an amazing global following before she has even finished her studies in Dubai. People can relate to her ambition to build a bridge between East and West, connecting children across the world to exchange language and culture.

It’s clear from Daisy’s story and others that if we identify with the compelling reasons why people set up their businesses it draws us in to engage with them. As I listened to some of the stories of the successful entrepreneurs last week, it was clear that it was their passion and the “meaning” to quote Alex Cheatle from the Ten Group that kept them going through all the hard times and not the money.

Judging by this week’s cover of The Economist it’s clear there are tough times ahead and the UK cuts are going to hurt but if we focus on the “meaning” and not just the “money” then maybe some of that meaning and passion will keep us going. Let’s hope our Chancellor George Osbourne spares some thought for SMEs, who are the engine of the UK economy, and does not leave us out in the cold.

1 McKinsey Quarterly
2 Entrepeneur Country
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