Busi­ness urged to em­brace dig­i­tal

North Coast Weekender - - Business - Tyler Brown

OUT­GO­ING Busi­ness News chief ex­ec­u­tive Char­lie Gun­ning­ham be­lieves “the fu­ture is bright” for the WA econ­omy.

Mr Gun­ning­ham was the guest speaker at the City of Joon­dalup’s busi­ness fo­rum ti­tled Sur­viv­ing and Thriv­ing in the Dig­i­tal Age at Joon­dalup Re­sort on Tues­day morn­ing.

Speak­ing to a crowd of more than 150 peo­ple, he shared his out­look for WA busi­nesses and the ma­jor trends that are af­fect­ing the State’s econ­omy.

He said ar­eas “do­ing it tough” last year in­cluded min­ing ser­vices, re­tail, prop­erty builders, re­cruit­ment and busi­ness ser­vices be­cause WA’s pop­u­la­tion growth had stalled, the min­ing con­struc­tion boom had ended, there was “a lot of dig­i­tal dis­rup­tion” and un­cer­tainty about the fu­ture.

“The big­gest killer of busi­ness is un­cer­tainty,” he said.

“Peo­ple make de­ci­sions in busi­ness – to in­vest, to grow, to em­ploy some­one, to buy that van – if there’s a de­gree of cer­tainty about the fu­ture.

“When there’s a de­gree of un­cer­tainty, those plans are post­poned or whit­tled down or maybe can­celled.”

How­ever, he said there were “bright spots” for in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy, dig­i­tal com­pa­nies, pro­fes­sion ser­vices, agribusi­ness and some min­ing and “great po­ten­tial” for tourism, ed­u­ca­tion, agri­cul­ture, health ser­vices and start-up tech­nol­ogy.

He said it was im­por­tant for busi­ness own­ers to em­brace the next gen­er­a­tion of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing to stay com­pet­i­tive and meet the needs of ev­er­chang­ing con­sumer be­hav­iours.

“It re­ally is up to us as busi­ness own­ers and man­agers to make things hap­pen,” he said.

“Cer­tainly from what we’re see­ing at Busi­ness News, there is more good news around at the mo­ment as com­pared to a year or two ago.

“There are more cor­po­rate deals be­ing done, there’s been an up­swing in ac­tiv­ity in 2017, it’s bet­ter than it was.

“Of course, there is some stress out there in cer­tain sec­tors but it’s not all doom and gloom.”

Joon­dalup Mayor Troy Pickard said only 54 per cent of new small busi­ness en­tries in WA in 2013-14 sur­vived to 2016. “In or­der for small busi­ness to grow and pros­per, it is vi­tal that op­er­a­tors take ad­van­tage of the many pro­grams and op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able to them in or­der to grow their busi­ness,” he said.

He said a re­cently com­pleted busi­ness needs sur­vey would help the City bet­ter un­der­stand the needs of Joon­dalup busi­nesses and in­form fu­ture ac­tiv­i­ties.

Pic­ture: Chris Ker­shaw

Busi­ness News chief ex­ec­u­tive Char­lie Gun­ning­ham.

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