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Armageddon? No Way


Is your glass half empty or is it half full? It is confidence that underpins international financial markets – always has been, always will. Yes, the international financial crisis is dire, but in reality, very little that is new has emerged in 2011 about the parlous state of the world economy.

It is about attitude of mind. The focus needs to lie in re-establishing confidence that the collective will exists to tackle the problems that have been there for several years, but different aspects bubble to the service at different times.

The world will not end if Greece goes through a controlled default. To be honest trying to keep up the façade that the weakest economies can trade there way out of monster debt overhangs is naive. Without accommodation, by way of time to pay and the reduction of penalties heaped upon through higher coupons at the very time when they need help – it is never going to happen.

All involved need to feel and share the pain as all involved have a degree of responsibility for the mess that we face. A view is held by some that the European Bank stress tests were politically orchestrated to produce a desired outcome rather than the more hard line approach of the US Treasury and this is now coming home to haunt the European Union.

Even the prospect of a double dip recession should be viewed differently. A slight contraction, and here we are talking about 1 to 2% still leaves the US and European 13 trillion economies largely intact. Whilst this additional dose of realism is highly undesirable we will come out the other side hopefully wiser and stronger.

Yes it will mean more belt tightening and asset depreciation but in certain markets that is highly desirable as asset values have moved out of line with long term value owing to an era of cheap money.

Whether we realise it or not all of us are slowly paying for the excesses of yesteryear. Pay freezes, asset depreciation, higher taxes with the only saving grace being low interest rates which is a double edged sword in that it erodes the returns of the most prudent. With inflation running above 4% mainly due to energy costs and food price inflation, the pain goes on. In the UK depreciation of the currency is contributing to the righting of the good ship Britannia.

However, it is not Armageddon and there are still opportunities for the fleet of foot in many market sectors but as with all things in the free world there will be winners and losers and it is up to you to decide whether you will be a winner or a loser and that is the essence of competition.

Don’t sit there doing nothing and bemoaning your lot in life. Sharpen up your act and be prepared to compete both domestically and where appropriate internationally and make your own luck.

There are always opportunities and lets just look at two for illustration purposes.

The UK Legal market was due to begin a major shake up on the 6th of October but the regulators have cocked it up and this will cause a delay. Is this an opportunity or a threat? Well some are seeing it as an opportunity and are carrying on in preparation for the opportunities ahead whilst others bemoan there lot and are rightly criticised for their complacency. People like this will be the winners. They have made a choice in a competitive market place and are chasing their dreams of building an alternative business model in a competitive market place.

If things are tough at home you can always endeavour to put your business on a world stage and look to fill gaps not occupied by others. Recruitment is one such industry. it is cyclical but the cycles impact on different parts of the world at different times and if you are prepared to get off your arse you can carve out opportunities. Australia is often described as the land of opportunity with its natural resources but it is bedevilled by skills shortages from International Chefs, through Teachers, Healthcare professionals, Engineers and the numbers are huge. Australia needs 100,000 skilled professionals in the Mining and Oil and Gas sector alone. So it is a great time for international recruitment agencies to be working in Australia. Similar opportunities are there elsewhere in the world in any of the 4 big global shortage areas of Healthcare, Natural Resources, Engineering and Education.

However, opportunity won’t come looking for you and it continually surprises me how closed many peoples minds are to the opportunities around them.

Don’t let the troubles of the world become your personal Armageddon. Do something about it and make sure your glass is always half full.

 

Author – Chris Slay

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