Back in studio this past weekend for the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel, alongside Sherena Hussain and John Northcott, with a diverse array of topics:
Short Selling Canada’s Banks. Short sellers have been betting that Canada’s banks will see declines, in light of ongoing consumer debt, a slower housing market, and decreased credit growth. As bank earnings continue to increase, is this a good bet?
Bezos Minimum Wage Hike. CEO Jeff Bezos has challenged competitors to meet or exceed the $15 per hour minimum wage level that is currently in place at Amazon. What is behind his comments and what could it mean for competitors?
Here’s a few thoughts. Given the uncertainty that we have seen in the business world and broader community over the past couple of years, in terms of trade, tariffs, and relationships between countries, some relative stability could be helpful. In times of uncertainty, companies tend to delay longer term, investment oriented decisions, which could impact the economy in a host of ways, including employment, purchasing, and construction, to name a few. When these sectors of the economy are not as robust as they could be, consumer confidence and consumption can start to wane. It’s all connected, and important to try to keep all areas afloat in uncertain times.
Having said that, Canada’s banking system continues to find ways to make money; something that won’t surprise business owners and consumers. There are significant differences between the US and Canadian banking sector, and although we’ve been on a favourable economic run for some time, the “short” opportunity might not be as imminent as speculators think.
And finally, online based businesses like Amazon have taken the opportunity to make an impact on the retail sector, with the demise of many traditional “bricks and mortar” companies that have fallen behind the times, unable to compete. It’s important to remember the importance of a company’s business model, in terms of how they make money, what the cost structure is, and the extent to which expense escalations could be borne. As social conscience continues to rise among the need for a living wage, companies that haven’t migrated to a place where they can provide one might just find themselves in difficult circumstances (and short of staff!).
When it comes to business, we can look at where we are, but the strength is in truly understanding what the future could bring and knowing what is needed to thrive there. Business savvy leaders understand this; unfortunately, most either lack the ability or have not taken the time to focus on what’s important in this regard.
Thanks, CBC News Network, for the on-air mention of my new book, Defusing the Family Business Time Bomb, helping business leaders to address a range of challenges to achieve market relevance over the long term. See you again soon!