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Hoping for the future ... or Planning for Success?


First let me state that I am not a big believer in HOPING for anything.  I don’t believe that fate is some pre-ordained destiny that will somehow happen no matter what I do!

I believe that we are the architects of our own destiny!

Today I was chatting with a writer from a local newspaper about the potential impact of the upcoming Federal budget, and the ensuing government cutbacks.   What will it mean to business in Canada’s capital, Ottawa?

Here are some thoughts …

1.  If any business is TOO dependent upon one source of revenue then they put themselves at risk.  Many Ottawa based businesses have all their eggs in the Federal Government basket … that just might prove very painful.

2.  Ottawa has always been a “government town”, but for a while we had some “anchor” companies that created a significant high-tech presence.  When Nortel and JDS succumbed to the crash, and Cognos was bought by IBM, we were left with no MAJOR anchor companies.  So we are once again a government town.

3.  There is a burgeoning set of start-ups in and around Ottawa, that creates employment for small numbers of highly skilled people at a time.  They may grow into larger employers, but are much more likely to be acquired by large companies headquartered elsewhere meaning we will still be a government town, with SMBs in the community.

4.  Anytime an anchor organization leaves an area, or significantly downsizes, the impact on the community is significant.  When Nortel shed thousands of jobs the Federal Government “beefed up’ … so the local impact, while significant, was not as bad as it might have been.  As a government town (did I mention that?) the federal government IS Ottawa’s anchor.

5.  The federal government will shed jobs in one of two ways (a) it will stop doing some things; or (b) it will stop doing some things ITSELF.  The latter means some opportunity for private sector … the former means a large net loss of jobs.

A slight aside … When an organizations downsizes and asks for “volunteers” it is usually the people you least want to lose, that go.  In this case the feds might well lose their best talent.  This creates the issue of those same people coming back (double dipping) as consultants.  That might be nice for companies like mine, but as a taxpayer I’m not sure it makes much sense.

Back to that HOPING versus PLANNING

The federal government represents less than  5% of my business!  We won’t know how important that business reality will be, until after the budget … but I am planning not hoping!

What are you doing?