Navigating The Road Ahead


What does the balance of 2016 look like? Overall, the commercial landscape will resemble the scene of a road smash ... including evidence of a little road-kill.

That’s what happens when celebrated, over-hyped and much lauded acquisitions and merger deals of just 2 years ago start to unravel.

Sadly, it will be capital that is most smashed. Shareholders lament.

The cascading consequences will be, and are being reflected in the balance sheets, inventories and idle fleets of contractors, suppliers and associate entities.


It is valuable and important to identify, analyse and quantify causal factors. The process fosters better understanding.

For many, addressing the prevailing market forces involves dealing with symptoms. The causes are rooted in the decisions made 2, 3, 4, 5 or more years earlier.

That makes it difficult and, typically, short-term in nature.

Structural change is occurring. However, in many instances the current circumstances relate to de-structuring, as a fallout from past misadventures.

Australian corporate history has long-established a minimum two year lead-time in the determination of industry and individual company trends, by their performance, share value and profit.

The buoyancy experienced or perceived post the onset of the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) in August 2008 has been found to have had very porous foundations. It has crumbled quickly.

Unauthorised spending by Department of Health bureaucrats in Western Australia on ICT hardware and software is inappropriate and unconscionable. In a relative sense, the amounts are petty cash when compared to the Board of Directors- approved capital outlays which have turned sour in a very short period of time. What happened to financial prudence, accountability and transparency in the “corridors of power”?


Fortunately, Australia does not have to wait for gold-winning performances in the Olympic Swimming Pool in Rio de Janeiro to celebrate.

Following the performances at the London Olympics few would be banking on winning gold.

However, the rare metal is another story in itself.

The week commencing Monday 8 February registered a milestone. The price of gold reached an all-time high of $1774 (Australian) for ounce.

That is attractive and alluring in its own right.

The low prices of oil, petrol, and energy, complemented by the ready availability of discounted fleets of vehicles and equipment represent very real investment opportunities.

However, all that glitters is not gold. Care is needed.

Seeking out, respecting and supporting expertise is the best strategy, both now, and at all times.


In navigating the road ahead for 2016 it may be prudent to ease off the pressure on the accelerator, remain alert, avoid the wreckage and the entrails, and seek out and value the pockets of rare “mettle”.... in yourself.

Barry Urquhart


Barry Urquhart, MD Marketing Focus, Perth, is the author of Australia's top two selling books on customer service and is an internationally recognised authority on consumer behaviour and creative visual marketing.

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