The Canadian Chamber of Commerce recently conducted a poll of its members on the state of the economy and their business projections for 2009. The media has been focusing on gloom and doom for the coming year – the worst recession since the 1980s. However, a closer look at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce survey shows that not all businesses agree with this outlook.
According to the poll, when asked to rate overall business conditions for the coming year more than half of those surveyed seem optimistic: 16 percent expect things to be better, 40 percent expect things to stay the same and 44 percent expect things to get worse.
When looking at operating costs (transportation, material, energy, etc.) again, more than half expect things to stay the same or improve: 13 percent expect improvement, 42 percent expect the status quo and 44 percent expect things to get worse.
Looking at production volumes well over half are optimistic: 15 percent expect improvement, 46 percent expect it to be the same and only 40 percent expect a drop in production.
For sales in 2009 it’s evenly split. Twenty percent expect growth, 31 percent expect sales to remain steady while 49 percent expect a drop in sales.
Interestingly, 58% of respondents believe their profits will be lower next year, while only 17% forecast an improvement and 25 percent expect things to remain the same. This figure doesn’t jibe with they survey’s prediction of improved or maintained business conditions, same or lowered operating costs and improved or maintained sales. Perhaps respondents were able to look at the individual aspects objectively but are being influenced by the media when making an overall prediction.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not burying my head in the sand, ignoring the recession. I know times are tough for a lot of businesses. But not everyone is suffering. I’ve spoken to many business owners who have seen growth, sometimes significant growth, in the past few months.
The key to surviving this economic downturn is to stay optimistic and work smarter as well as harder. Look closely at products and services to see which are most profitable. Decide if there are areas you need to focus on more. Market relentlessly. Provide top notch customer service and look for areas to reduce costs.
Andrea J. Stenberg