Archive for September, 2011

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Your Innovative Value Proposition Can Help You Compete

How can you be more innovative and then let the world know about it?  It’s an interesting question, in the context of last week’s blog, in which we discussed Canada’s drop to 12th place overall, in the World Competitiveness Report.

The Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty, spoke to the matter in a September 16 news release, too.  In it he “urged the private sector to increasingly make innovation a central component of business strategies to ensure that Canada can compete with the world’s best and transform promising ideas into pioneering results.”

While the government has earmarked funds for research and innovation, upgraded universities and even the government’s intent to market Canadian business outputs to a global economy, for most businesses in the trenches today, bringing new and promising ideas to market is expensive:  they require capital in a difficult lending environment.

To get the financial backing, requires well-researched and astute business planning, often assisted by a great presentation to a lender.  This can be burdensome in a more naturally reserved Canadian culture.  The key question, however, is this:  why should a lender help you innovate so that your business could be more competitive?  You’ll need to let your passion show.

For many businesses, that passion is driven by the seductive power of positive reinforcement:  how well their innovate value propositions are meeting their customers’ needs.   A good starting point, in being more competitive, might be to do some research with your clients.

If you are working in the financial services, for example, you are aware that Canadians are being bombarded with disheartening financial news every day.  It’s quite possible that you may be the leader they are looking for to help them make decisions.  Have you asked, recently, how well you are meeting those needs?

Do you have the new knowledge and skill sets that are required to do so?  At the Knowledge Bureau, we have been passionate about our innovation: teaching Real Wealth Management™ as a framework for building sustainable, intergenerational wealth.  It has been a delight to know about the positive results our graduates are experiencing both in new personal insights and in collaborating with their teams.

In a fragile financial world, we can get better results, and that’s why it’s worthwhile trying new ways to do so.  Doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results, after all, is the definition of insanity, according to Albert Einstein, who, incidentally, was also responsible for one of my favourite tax quotes: “the hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax”. (Hard to disagree!)

It’s Your Money.  Your Life.  What are you passionate about in your work?  Are you sharing that with your clients?  Let them know. . .you might be surprised at how well you are doing when you listen to your value proposition from your clients’ point of view.

Evelyn Jacks is President of Knowledge Bureau and is currently co-writing a new book with Robert Ironside and Al Emid entitled “Financial Recovery in a Fragile World”.  It can be pre-ordered at www.knowledgebureau.com/books


Global Competitiveness: Canada’s Drop from Top 10 List Requires Investment

The Global Competitiveness Report was released by the World Economic Forum last week, having reviewed the economic performance of 142 countries in the context of several difficult years.  It recommends that countries around the world establish fundamentals for spurring “quality” economic growth, in order to sustain competitiveness in economic, social and environmental terms.

The report confirms that an injured world is indeed recovering from economic crisis—albeit tentatively and with unequal distribution.  That is, while the developing world is seeing strong growth, advanced economies are experiencing what it calls “sluggish recoveries”, and “serious financial vulnerabilities with no clear horizon in sight for improvement”.

Canada recently dropped off the “Top 10 List” of global economic competitors to position #12.  On the good news side, we benefit from highly efficient markets, particularly as it relates to labor, and well-functioning institutions and excellent infrastructure.  We rank #6 for health and primary education and #12 for higher education and training.   But our competitiveness would be enhanced with greater R&D spending so that we could achieve greater innovation and produce more goods ranked higher on the value chain.

So how can Canadians be more innovative? Innovation and R & D requires significant investment by businesses, challenged to make profits in a volatile economic climate. They may need more help from lenders, and it is possible Canadian banks are in a good position to do so. In leafing through chart after chart of current data, it is good to see the soundness of Canadian banks is ranked #1 in the world. Yet, Canada ranks #19 in terms of venture capital availability, and #22 for ease of access to loans. And despite the fact that we consider ourselves to be quite tech-savvy, we rank #13 in the world in terms of individuals using the internet, behind Iceland (#1) and Korea (#10).

Given the current global malaise, it appears we won’t be able to export our way out of financial vulnerability anytime soon. Growth will need to come from our domestic market, which size ranks only #14 in the world.

It’s Your Money. Your Life. There is much work to do. Together, business and lenders have greater bench strength to spur on our domestic economy, so that incomes and taxes can maintain the lifestyles we cherish. Is more investment in our own business back yard required to enable us to innovate our way back into the top of the global competitiveness rankings? Your thoughts are most welcome.

Evelyn Jacks, is President of The Knowledge Bureau, focused on excellence in financial education, and best-selling author of 46 books. She is currently working on her 47th, entitled Financial Recovery in a Fragile World.  For more information call toll free 1-866-953-4769 or visit www.knowledgebureau.com.


To Recover Financially, Protect Financial Stability

Tiff Macklem, Senior Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada,  told the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) in Mumbai, India last week that while Canada and India could not be more different in terms of population in particular, we share an outstanding achievement:  Canada and India have weathered the financial crisis of 2007- 2009  better than most.

“Worldwide, the ensuing recession was the worst the world had seen since the 1930s and the most globally synchronized in history. Almost 28 million jobs were lost globally. Economic output, as represented by the G-7, fell by 5 per cent from peak to trough. For emerging-market countries, a collapse in trade led to a marked growth slowdown.”

Despite this, along the way to the crisis, Mr. Macklin outlined six reasons why Canada prepared well for the worst of times:

• a free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico,
• an inflation-targeting framework for monetary policy,
• a major fiscal consolidation that reduced the federal deficit from almost 6 per cent of GDP in 1992–93 to near zero five years later,
• our employment insurance and public pension plans were also reformed as were regulations governing the financial sector.

Mr. Macklem concluded with this observation:  “. . .our sound policy frameworks, combined with diligent implementation, have fortified our countries against the international shock waves and afforded us greater policy flexibility to respond to adverse real and financial spillovers.”

It’s Your Money, Your Life.  A solid framework for sustainable wealth management, together with a consistent process for the implementation of goals results in the ability to make choices in the future.  That’s the essence of Real Wealth Management.  Consider working with an advisor who understands how to build and implement a strategic RWM™ plan. 

Evelyn Jacks is President of Knowledge Bureau, which has pioneered and developed the inter-advisory discipline of Real Wealth Management, conferring the Master Financial Advisor (MFA™) designation on specialists who successfully complete the program.

ADDITIONAL EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE:  Distinguished Advisor Conference (DAC)