Happy New Year! Back in the studio this past weekend for the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel with John Northcott and Elmer Kim. We discussed the week in business, including:
- NAFTA and Mixed Signals from the US. First, Trump says the US might pull out of NAFTA; next, he says the talks are moving along well and he might extend the deadline. What could be in store for Canadian businesses?
- Tim Hortons and Minimum Wage. Canada’s favourite coffee shop has faced a backlash over how some franchisees have responded to minimum wage increases in Ontario. What are the implications for the brand and lessons learned?
Both of these stories have received a significant amount of public and media attention. Here’s a quick take:
- In terms of NAFTA, it’s no secret that Trump’s target of dissatisfaction has been Mexico, and that Canada and the US are significant trade partners. Bringing an end to NAFTA isn’t as easy as some might think, and regardless, Canada and the US need a basis to do business together, whether it is under NAFTA or some other arrangement. Canada should be focusing on its global trade strategy, as well as its options for trade with the US. Canadian businesses, on the other hand, should be focusing on the significant work that needs to be done in order to approach global opportunities. Talking to a business advisor is a great first step!
- The Tim Hortons saga is a good example of what can happen when important business and implementation planning are not managed well. This type of situation can also be impacted by a lack of communication: between a company and its franchisees (or locations), employees, and customers. And as for the public sector, we can all agree that providing a fair wage is a good thing, but leaving it up to companies to implement a large increase simply isn’t a wise strategy, given that a business’ payroll is typically its largest expense. A more gradual approach that starts sooner rather than later would have been a better idea.
Thanks for watching and see you soon, CBC!