Based on the people I have spoken with across the engineering and manufacturing industries this year, it seems 2013 has been a bit of a mixed bag. Some firms have been so busy they did not know which way to turn, others have found it difficult to hire the trained and experienced people they need – and this has stifled the growth of their businesses. Many have continued to ‘do it tough’, and a few have fallen by the wayside.
According to Statistics NZ, there are fewer business trading today than the peak of 2009 – the number of firms operating has dropped from 481,000 (2009) to 472,600 (February 2013).
Not only has the country lost more than 8,000 businesses in four years, but there are fewer start-ups replacing them. And the businesses that supplied goods and services to those failed companies will have suffered a loss of customers and unpaid bills.
Talking with Joel Leonard (see page 27), he was really impressed with what he found when he visited this year’s MESNZ annual conference. We spoke soon after he returned to his North Carolina home, and he reckons Kiwi businesses are missing a trick.
He says Kiwis are too shy and reserved, and that business owners should be shouting from the rooftops about their products, successes and achievement.
From what I can see, the owners of some Kiwi firms are confused. They see marketing and promotion as bragging. Bragging can be vulgar, whereas sharing your achievements and successes can be very worthwhile.
Surviving and prospering in today’s globally competitive world takes a lot more than quietly doing exceptional work. We need more tall poppies.