Rising interest rates, maybe ‘tightening of belts’ – is this an opportunity?

With inflation in Australia above the Reserve Banks targets, interest rates have risen yet again in an attempt to slow the economy and dampen demand. Is this a “show stopper” for business, or can it be viewed as an opportunity?

Traditionally

The Reserve banks uses interest rates as a questionable means of dampening demand and so slowing the economy, but in the last “sledge hammer” approach to economic control under Paul Keating when interest rates reached the dizzy heights of 17% and more, our balance of trade remained in the negative and consumers were still spending. Eventually, after many businesses “went to the wall” demand did damped and inflation slowed – but at what cost?

The ready availability of credit cards and the “must have it now” culture is one of the reasons that the impact of rising interest rates has little immediate effect on slowing the economy.

Notwithstanding the above, one thing is certain; as interest rates rise people do become more discerning with their expenditure. For the first time in perhaps more than a decade people now look twice at bills and purchases and compare alternatives with a little more rigour than before. Churn in now on the increase, and this is where the opportunity lies. Now is the time to win customers from competitors and increase market share.

Innovation is not the only answer.

Many companies embrace innovation (best defined as “Change that Adds Value”© La Salle 1999) of products, processes and services as a means to drive change and as a way of ever improving their offering and moving both their customers and businesses to an ever better place. Opportunism is perhaps another way of thinking, a way that is seldom even touched on by traditional innovation initiatives.

What is an Opportunity?

The dictionary defines the word opportunity as a fortunate intersection of events” or something similar, unfortunately such a definition is not a call to action for it fails to show one how an opportunity may be found.

Perhaps a better definition is:

“An observed fortunate set of circumstances (© La Salle 2002).

This simple definition underpins an entirely new search endeavour for business development and has the effect of moving the mindset of staff from that of merely operators to opportunists.

Make Opportunity your opportunity!

There are five important search criteria for finding an opportunity. People need to be skilled in the use of these and to work through the simple opportunity stimulants to find new unthought of initiatives. Not only does this work for businesses, it is equally valuable for personal, job and career development.

Be assured, opportunities are abundant, perhaps more so now in times when people are reviewing spending patterns.

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