5 minute read
2018 has been a year of significant challenges in Alberta, confirming what we’ve all known for 3.5 years: tomorrow’s Alberta will be a lot different than yesterday’s. Alberta entrepreneurs can no longer rely on ‘business-as-usual’ as a path to success, they will have to adapt their companies in order to thrive in our new reality. Tomorrow’s success stories will be of companies who embrace automation to increase efficiency and of companies who focus intensely on creating value for their customers.
Some of what we’ve faced in 2018
You’ve shouldered large tax increases, the top tax rate for ‘fully distributed’ dividend income landing just north of 50%. You are working through new tax rules that are very complex and incredibly vague (“TOSI” and Passive Income rules to be specific). You’ve stomached a new carbon tax which has increased the cost of necessities like home heating, electricity, gasoline, and food – to name a few – a tax which is set to increase for the next several years. You have seen record unemployment levels – Calgary leading the nation in the percentage of folks without jobs – meaning there are less people buying your products and services. You’ve watched interest rates climb, increasing your borrowing costs. You’ve witnessed downtown vacancy rates hit 25%, leading to property tax increases, in some cases, of the same percentage in a single year. You’ve managed your way through another minimum wage increase. You’ve watched our construction industry decline in lockstep with our energy industry; we are facing an oversupplied housing market, the highest vacancy levels in 13 years, and housing starts at 10-year lows. All of this has restricted your access to capital as the banks tighten up their lending policies.
Politically, you’ve endured a virtue-signalling federal government that is completely apathetic, borderline contemptuous, towards Alberta’s woes. They seem hellbent on decimating our energy sector by limiting any hope of selling Canada’s oil at market rates, despite their relentless posturing to the contrary. In a sneaky addition to the 2018 budget, and having full knowledge of the above, they mandated that Alberta continue to pay transfer payments for the next 5 years.
Any one of these may have gone un-noticed in 2018; the combination of all of them has made for a very challenging business environment. But the sun is shining through the clouds my friends.
Reasons to be grateful
In 2019 let’s focus on opportunity, fabulous opportunity. The success stories of 2019 will be of entrepreneurs and business leaders who develop strategies to increase market share, manage costs, increase operational efficiency, boost productivity, and build company cultures that support these endeavors. Collaboration and strategic alliances are the way forward, they allow companies to ‘join’ in meeting declines in demand by offering a more cohesive, more valuable product. Marketing technology is so clearly the way to discover new markets and reach them. Automation is the key to increasing productivity by freeing a company’s most valuable resources (People) from spending their days on demoralizing repetitive administrative tasks (such as bookkeeping, AP and AR). Productivity increases in 2019 will be gained by giving the ‘humans’ in an organization the breathing room they need to find creative ways to interact with customers and increase the value of their companies. Leaders of modern and successful companies are deploying automation at record levels to build efficiency and increase productivity, to compete in the new reality, and you can too.
There has never been a better time than right now to take a serious look at your business to ensure that it is prepared to compete in our new reality. The Achen Henderson team spent all of 2018 refocusing our business to help you navigate the new reality. We can help you build a better, stronger, and more resilient business and we can help you understand your opportunities. We are experts in automation, technology, strategy, culture, leadership, and tax. We build automated accounting systems, provide executive level financial analysis and guidance, and we help Leaders build company cultures that work. We form strategic alliances for our clients to ensure growth and opportunity.
Perhaps you’re not sure where to start. We are here to help. Connect with us
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