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What's Hot in 2009: Businesses

maple_leaf_foods_logo This week on The Bigg Success Show, we’re taking a look at opportunities and threats in 2009. Today, we continue the five-part series by looking at business opportunities.

In the last quarter of 2008, we witnessed some significant shifts in consumer behavior. We’ve written an article on hot businesses for 2009 after doing extensive research on how these shifts will affect businesses.

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You gotta know when to hold ‘em

One of the things we learned is that people are holding on to what they have longer. So if your business idea involves replacing something old, think again about starting up in 2009.

But if you know how to repair something, or can partner with someone who does, 2009 is a great time to get started. For example, one of the hottest businesses in the country right now is shoe repairs. People are repairing, rather than replacing, even the basics.

Every second counts

Somewhat related to repairs, if consumers have to replace an item, they’re often looking for something used. Businesses that sell second-hand items are thriving right now. Resale clothing shops are reporting record sales. From kid’s clothes to wedding dresses, consumers are buying previously worn garments.

Used office furniture suppliers are also doing well. While buyers are feeling stingy, they’re finding it hard to resist some of the premium quality furnishings flowing out of financial institutions these days.

Used book stores are also reporting strong sales as people return to reading as an inexpensive form of entertainment.

It’s a small world after all

The overwhelming majority of businesses are really, really small businesses. They consist of one or two people, in many cases operating from their home. It appears that these tiny businesses – which have been dubbed micro-businesses, are only going to continue capturing a larger share of the total business pie.

What special skills do you have? What are you an expert at … or could you be an expert at?  Thinking along these lines may help you discover your opportunity. A lot of the best opportunities are businesses you rarely hear about because they’re small niches within a larger category so they’re hardly newsworthy.

Just like other consumers, businesses are looking for ways to save money. If they can contract for needed services, rather than hiring an employee to provide them, they don’t have the costs that go with a full-time employee. They can also maintain more flexibility to adapt in a rapidly changing world, which is worth money to them.

From your perspective, look at it this way – instead of a job serving one employer (think of your employer as your only customer), would you feel more secure if you had ten employers (since it’s your own business, you’d call them clients)? If one of them stops doing business with you, you might only lose ten percent of your income.

It may sound crazy to many people to even think about starting a business right now. But keep in mind that many of the most successful businesses began in a downturn. You may discover it’s the perfect time to find your bigg opportunity! 

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Thanks for reading our post today. Again, check out the article we've written for more information on businesses that will be hot in 2009. Join us next time as we continue this series by looking at threats to be aware of in 2009. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00302-010608.mp3

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Top Threats to Your Career and Finances in 2009

By Bigg Success Staff
12-17-08

caution

We’ve all heard plenty of bad news recently, but the bad news now is that there is more bad news to come. While we must think about the opportunities in front of us, it’s also important to consider the threats to our careers and our finances so we can prepare appropriately.

Recession

Consumers, businesses, non-profits, and governments, all over the developed world, are learning a hard lesson about leverage. We will climb our way out of this recession but it will take some time. Before it’s through, it will be one of the, if not the most, severe recession since the Great Depression. 

Layoffs will continue. In most recessions, layoffs occur mostly at the bottom of the earnings / education spectrum. Expect this recession to be more evenly distributed, if not hitting higher end jobs harder.

Outsourcing

Companies will continue outsourcing, but here’s the difference. Manufacturing jobs have been getting shipped overseas for some time now. As fuel prices rose, there actually seemed to be a resurgence in companies bringing manufacturing jobs back on shore.

Now more white-collar jobs are at risk thanks in part to technology that allows information to be shared instantly from any place in the world with internet access. We found a great article that discusses the characteristics of jobs that can now be easily outsourced and jobs that can’t. It also lists what you can do to make yourself less vulnerable and provides a list of jobs by their level of risk to offshoring.

Deflation

Expect deflation to continue as everybody keeps a tight lid on spending, the credit markets remain relatively tight, and inventories of everything from housing to cars remain comparatively high. The good news is lower prices will remain, but …

Inflation

Governments in the developed countries have poured money into the world economy at unprecedented rates. At some point, once the credit markets loosen up and demand returns, inflation could become a problem.

We’ve just witnessed prices on everything from gas to groceries rising quickly. We could see it again. It will take wise leadership to know when to slam on the brakes on economic stimulus without tightening so much that another recession ensues.

If this happens, that cash stash will quickly lose its value. Investments in hard assets have typically performed well in times of inflation.

Delayed retirement

A number of retirees are being forced to look for work after the freefall of their portfolios. Even more people who planned to retire soon are putting those plans on hold because they need to bulk up their assets again before they stop working. This will create even more competition in already tight job markets.

Benefits

Employers are under intense pressure to cut costs. It’s reasonable to expect them to cut benefits. Even if it’s promised now, don’t count on having health insurance provided to you as a retiree. Even while you’re working, expect to cover a greater share of the premiums.

Also don’t be surprised if your employer cuts back or eliminates the matches on your 401(k). These aren’t the only benefits at risk, but they’re two of the most significant ones.

Access to credit

It won’t show up on your personal balance sheet, but your credit score will be an incredible asset. Cash will be king as long as prices remain in a deflationary state. At some point, cash along with the ability to access credit will open doors for opportunities that most of us will never see again in our lifetimes. 

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Crisis Creates Opportunity for Great Leaders

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Recently, food-borne illness was found to have caused the death of eleven Canadians. After a thorough inspection, it was concluded that the problem originated in a plant operated by Maple Leaf Foods.

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At a press conference, the President of Maple Leaf Foods, Michael McCain responded:

"Certainly knowing that there is a desire to assign blame, I want to reiterate that the buck stops right here. This week, it's our best efforts that failed, not the regulators or the Canadian food safety system. I emphasize: this is our accountability and it's ours to fix, which we are taking on fully. We have and we continue to improve on our action plans."

Honesty builds goodwill

It was so refreshing to see a leader step up and accept responsibility in an incredibly difficult situation. The report on the conference says you could see the pain in his face. He was completely honest. He took a hard stance and accepted full responsibility.

In today’s legal environment, it’s harder than ever for executives to accept this kind of responsibility. Lawyers often advise against it because it costs money. But it builds goodwill because people appreciate people who stand up and do what’s right without regard to the cost.

The 3 phases of a crisis

We found a great special report, Crisis – A Leadership Opportunity [pdf]. It discusses the three phases in the lifecycle of a crisis:

Preparation
During this phase, complacency has set in. As problems boil to the surface, leaders often ignore them to avoid any conflict. This failure to respond early leads to the crisis.

Emergency

Now the threat has been ascertained and the very existence of the organization may be threatened. Leaders direct all their energy to eliminate the immediate threat.

Adaptive
All possible attention has been given to crisis. There has been an urgency to get to the source and take corrective actions. With the crisis still at the top of everyone’s mind, now is the time to make the changes necessary to prevent the crisis from happening again. People are receptive and open.

However, many leaders fail to take advantage of this opportunity. Instead, they push the organization back to the status quo. The result? The crisis returns!

The report [pdf] goes on to discuss the seven essential success strategies for leaders in crisis. It also discusses two famous cases of leadership in crisis – Johnson & Johnson’s handling of the Tylenol poisonings and Rudy Giuliani’s response immediately after the events of September 11, 2001.

We highly recommend that you check out this fantastic resource. It will help you learn to adapt to little problems so they don’t become a major crisis. 

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Next time, we ask, “Are you solving the problem or the symptom?” Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00248-102208.mp3
ttp://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00248-102208.mp3

(Image by mapleleaf.com)

SWOT analysis

Your Personal SWOT Analysis (Part II)

SWOT analysis

Yesterday, we began this discussion of SWOT analysis. Today we want to continue it by talking about the last half of SWOT: Opportunities and Threats.

So far, everything we’ve discussed has been internal – focused just on you. Your strengths. Your weaknesses. Now we’re ready to bring in the external forces.

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SWOT analysis

Your Personal SWOT Analysis (Part I)

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Today and tomorrow, we’ll discuss your personal SWOT analysis.

In case you’re not familiar with it, SWOT is an acronym for …

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