29 November, 2008

Global Financial Crisis - Solutions

The UK, EU and the US have received their ideas on how to correct the global financial crisis from Australia. It was the Australian government that first allocated money for banks to give them funds to issue loans. Then Gordon Brown in the UK did the same claiming to own the maveric idea which then led on to the EU to follow.

What Gordon Brown and other countries now fail to do is to complete the package so as to provide a solution and not just a bandaid.

Australia had moved on to give a Christmas bonus to all Pensioners of $10 billion that was announced well in advance of issue so that the money would be wisely spent by pensioners.

Then the Australian Government met with 100 local councils to hear their innovative ideas to stimulate growth and spent $100 million supporting them.

For families with children they get $1000 per child as a one off payment o boost support.

Now on Nov 29th the Australian Government has announced a $15 Billion spend that will create 133,000 jobs. The Prime minister Kevin Rudd said “It will drive a reform agenda in health, education, as well as housing and businesses deregulation.”

These actions are yet another example of good leadership and how a small country can be an example to other countries worldwide. Latvia being a smaller country than Australia has a bigger opportunity to be an example for others with good leadership.

All sectors of the economy have to be targetted with sustained hits. I am sure there are more stimulating ideas soon to be deployed by the Austalian Government.

28 November, 2008

48 hours for a Patriot how much for the occupant of a leadership position?

The 48 hours detention of some that have an opinion about the strength of the economy and the Lat is an incredible injustice. We all know that to have a strong economy the country has to have strong exports as this supports the demand for the Lat required to buy these manufactured goods.

There are many clear paths towards improving exports and the most obvious are not being used for Latvia. I wrote to the Latvian President some months ago to initiate the obvious that requires the involvement of the Latvian President as it is a method used by Presidents of other small countries assisted by Prof Michael Porter. The President palmed me off to the Ministry of Economy which in turn did not reply regardless that the Latvian President instructed them to. The opportunity lost from Latvia because of the Ministry of Economy's inaction is that one of Australia's largest international business universities along with Professor Michael E Porter of Harvard University in the USA will not be coming to Latvia. A big loss for Latvia so I wrote a second time to the Latvian President and was informed to chase the Ministry of Economy myself.

My objective was twisted by the Presidents Office so they could avoid having to do something.

Along with the loss above went the involvement of medical teachers and medical processes that would improve the health system in Latvia!

6 or so years ago I was aware that the Foreign Investor Council in Latvia did not have a member that was manufacturing in Latvia to export. So I applied to Direct FICIL to attract to Latvia such an investor. But the excuse I was given was the old 'need to speak Russian and Latvian story.' 6 years later they only have a foreign manufacture member that sells to the local economy.

I soon after started Directing the Business Development Lab at the Stockholm School of Economics and during the three years I worked there it was very clear that the Latvian government did not want to invest any money on business development. Regardless that it can be proven that every $1 invested by the government would return over $10 taxable dollars for the Latvian economy.

So if someone can be locked up for saying that they think the Latvian Lat will depreciate then how long should the people be locked up that have the responsibility to do something to strengthen the lat but do nothing? The do nothing policy surely will do more to depreciate the Latvian Lat than the opinions of a few common folk.

11 November, 2008

Business Opportunities in a Recession

If you do not think you have a future then there is no need to plan for it. Many people that have not been challenged by life may find that not believing one has a future is an odd way of thinking. But what's more unusual is the fact that the majority that do believe they have a future do not plan for it.

Now that there is an economic downturn there is a noted increase in telephone calls coming to the Australian Chamber and to my own business from people seeking to sell something. I curiously ask them some questions to identify why I have become part of their target market and what becomes evident to me is that only now I have become a potential customer for them.

For some of the suppliers they are too late as I either have customer loyalty with existing suppliers, I am convinced the callers company can not perform, or I have already satisfied the need. A very few new callers succeed in concluding a contract as I am convinced of their quality and service level is worth the price.

During the good economic days there were suppliers like Aldaris that could not provide my business good service or quality for the price. Aldaris I kicked out of my business and because there was a good economic climate - Aldaris did not care that I rejected them. Baltkom is another company that treats its customers with disrespect. Baltkom charges customers for the days and weeks they are not connected by Baltkom. Viasat did not even have a service office for over a year.

The trend for these poor suppliers is that they concurrently use multiple ways to totally disrespect their customer. 1, they stop supplying, 2. They have penalty fees for a late payment, and 3. They report you to a credit agency. The option for these companies to improve service, price and quality to increase their customer base seems to be an effort they do not want to pursue.

So overall now there is much more opportunity in the market as people are not so willing to pay bills they do not agree with. Companies like Viasat and Baltkom have prepared the market for other companies like Star TV. Personally I have chosen SKY TV. Aldaris has already lost business to Cesu and other companies like K Rauta with a nazi styled attitude towards customers lose market share to companies like DEPO.

Customer loyalty should have been built up over the previous few years as should have been websites with not only other language options but have them fully functional. The 118 information centre that always hung up on English speaking people now has trouble signing up businesses, especially those businesses run by English speaking people.

I have websites I started over a year ago now hitting the top of the first Google page joining my websites already on the top of the first page of Google that I started 5 years ago. I gave a talk 2 years ago at a Latvian Tourism Development agency event attended by about 200 people. I said that it is near impossible for English speaking people to find information about the countryside of Latvia. I see nothing has been done to open walking tracks or to improve accessibility in English.

So if you do not think about your future then you will follow with your actions of doing very little with your life and less about your business. If you do think and act then there is a lot of opportunity in the market. Now is the time or improve or start new businesses and out smart your competition. The weak businesses are much more easy to identify when they are suffering so now is the time to do your best to do more and not less to win over their customers to your business.

If you are an employee then all this applies to you. If you want a good secure job then you have to be professional about your work. Because if you are lazy and do not think then you will only get jobs with companies that are losers like you. Having no respect for yourself and others attracts others to treat you the same.