Oil Prices – Jan 2016


Crude oil prices have decreased by 70% over the past 18 months and yet bowser prices have reduced by only around 30%…where’s the ACCC??

Prices now (January 2018) are still reaching highs above where crude oil Singapore pricing was a lot dearer…so who is ripping us off?

Petrol is a necessity purchase and as such we have to buy it now matter the price…and they know this.

So they keep increasing the price, affecting the middle and lower classes the most.

It is extortion by stealth.

Three in four businesses have cashflow concerns: Report


By Michelle Hammond

Businesses are attempting to curb their expenses by delaying investments and the hiring of new staff, according to the latest Dun & Bradstreet survey, which shows 75% of businesses see cashflow as an issue during the months ahead.

D&B’s latest National Business Expectations Survey shows the cost of doing business is taking its toll, with businesses delaying plans to hire new staff and putting off investments.

The survey’s index has continued a downward trend through to the June 2013 quarter, falling below its 10-year average level, to a score of zero.

The research also shows no new jobs have been added since the March quarter of 2012, with the actual employment index remaining in negative territory for three consecutive quarters.

In December last year, the index dropped to -7. This was its lowest point in more than three years.

The survey shows 75% of businesses see cashflow as an issue during the months ahead, with 44% of businesses identifying operational costs as their biggest barrier.

Danielle Woods, Dun & Bradstreet director of corporate affairs, told StartupSmart she’s not surprised by the findings.

“To be fair, we’ve seen this real downward trend in sentiment in recent months. The six indices we look at are trending down, so the cashflow issue is not a surprise to me,” Woods says.

“Trade credit is a huge thing for businesses in Australia… Our analysis is showing [trade payment times are] still sitting at 52 days.

“When businesses are taking 52 days, that can be a real strain on another firm’s cashflow.

“With these conditions prevailing, it’s unsurprising to see the outlook for both employment and investment falling away.”

Investment expectations for the June 2013 quarter dropped sharply to an index of five, compared to 14 in the previous quarter.

The outlook for capital spending is now at its lowest level since the September 2011 quarter, while the actual index for the December 2012 quarter is -3.

The outlook for sales has declined for the second consecutive quarter, while expectations for selling prices continues to move lower – the index decreased to two for the June 2013 quarter, well under its 10-year average of 29 points.

The broad fall in expectations suggests operating conditions will remain difficult at least until the middle of this year, with businesses also finding little relief in their cashflow position.

“The current and future challenges for businesses continue to come from a sluggish economy, Woods said.

“Sales growth is weak, businesses face challenging operating conditions and consumer spending is soft.

“We can expect businesses to keep a tight check on their expenses and continue to delay larger investments such as new jobs.”

D&B’s findings are in stark contrast to the latest MYOB research, which shows economic confidence and the overall business outlook of SMEs is on the rise.

According to the March 2013 MYOB Business Monitor, 26% of SMEs expect the domestic economy to improve within 12 months, compared to 19% in the July 2012 report.

The report, which is based on a study of 1,005 business owners and managers, shows 30% of respondents anticipate a revenue rise this year while 42% expect revenue to be stable.

Key Personal Qualities of a Consultant


What Qualities Are Needed To Be A Successful Business Consultant?

To succeed as a consultant requires a look at ones own business. Being self-employed, a consultant’s survival lies in their ability to find work, which involves promoting skills amongst peers and the individual’s network.

Centres of influence are also essential. Centres of influence are people in authority and who are well respected in their field, who recommend an individual to others. Their influence is such that when they recommend someone, that person instantly has credibility.

Others call these “referrers”, and they are, but the key is to convert a referrer into a centre of influence. Choose these people wisely and treat them with great respect.

In order to accomplish these tasks, and to be successful as a consultant, there are certain personal qualities that are considered essential.

Objectivity is Crucial for a Consultant

A consultant is required to establish trust and rapport with people at all levels of an organisation. This involves listening without prejudice, and not judging until they have all the necessary information.

Objectivity is crucial to any consultant. It allows them to view the situation from a helicopter point of view, and demands that they listen to both sides of every argument and idea presented.

If a consultant is to walk into a business and quickly assess where the issues are, then objectivity is essential.

Selling Skills are Needed by all Consultants

To be a successful salesperson there is a set of skills required. Some of these skills are also required by a consultant, and include being able to quickly establish rapport, the ability to listen, to empathise, and to quickly develop trust.

If a person cannot talk to everyone in an organisation from the receptionist to the Manageing Director, if they are uncomfortable in meeting new people, or if they talk and do not listen then they will fail as a consultant.

A Consultant Needs People Skills

This is the ability to interact with people in a respectful, relaxed manner.

The key word here is respect. Many intelligent people lack people skills, and hence do not know when to be tactful, when to just stop talking and listen, when to voice their ideas and when not to.

Put simply, people skills encompass the ability to interact with others in a manner that makes them feel comfortable and secure, and where they know their opinions and ideas are important.

Without people skills, a person cannot be a leader, and a consultant needs to lead.

Leadership In Consulting

The qualities of leadership required as a consultant are:

* Assertiveness
* Knowledge
* Experience
* Empathy

Assertiveness is not being dictatorial. Assertiveness is being able to vocalise an opinion and ideas in a confident and commanding manner. This is essential otherwise others are unlikely to believe what a consultant says.

Knowledge and experience are intertwined. Knowledge is needed to acquire experience, and experience in itself brings knowledge.

Empathy is the ability to “put yourself in the other person’s shoes”. To see an issue from all angles and viewpoints is necessary in order to develop and implement key strategies. If a person is unable to exhibit empathy, and take into account the needs, fears and expectations of all staff then their client will not implement the necessary changes they have recommended.

Summary of Consultant Qualities

In essence, the key attributes required by a consultant are objectivity and the ability to be aware of all the issues facing each stakeholder in the business.To be successful in this, a consultant requires sales skills, people skills, leadership qualities and the ability to articulate all of these skills assertively.

Read more at Suite101: Key Personal Qualities of a Consultant: What Qualities Are Needed To Be A Successful Business Consultant? http://management-careers.suite101.com/pages/article.cfm/key_personal_qualities_of_a_consultant#ixzz0t4ODicKb

Post GFC


Well, it looks like we survived (sort of). The unemployment rate did not leap up as predicted, although personally I believe this is because many people went from full-time to part-time work or at least had their hours reduced.

So, while we wait for the inevitable bleating from world governments regarding how they need to massively increase taxes to pay for their amazing stimulus packages, we watch as millions are wasted in Copenhagen.

The merry-go-round continues!

Do we believe the hype?


Everything we hear about is “the worst in 100 years”. So, are we just unlucky to be living through these times, or are we experiencing information overload?

It is undeniable that information sources have exploded in the past five years. We are now bombarded with more information every day than we used to get in a month.

In order for publishers to stand out from this ever increasing crowd, their headlines have become more and more sensationalist. This makes it very difficult for us, the readers/listerners, to differentiate fact from bloated fiction.

The saying “don’t believe everything you read” has never been more appropriate!

Do media headlines or economic data rule the global financial trading markets?


Over the past two years unprecedented international market volatility, caused by the Global Financial Crisis, have made all previous methods of predicting market directions obsolete.

Will this continue? If so, in what form? Has the market always been driven by media releases and the Global Financial Crisis has exposed this, or do ‘tested’ methods of market prediction such as charting still have a place in funds management, stock trading and currency movements?

Here in South Australia, where the full effect of this crisis has yet to be realised, will investors react to the media or market data? Or both? When the media is negative and market data positive which direction does the market move in?

The recent volatility has irrevocably altered how investors view market information, and the intellectual conundrum I intend to question is “In future will traders be swayed by analysis of market data or by collective media reports?’.

Retired early due to chronic illness I now write about my illness & current events.

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