OUTGOING Business News chief executive Charlie Gunningham believes “the future is bright” for the WA economy.
Mr Gunningham was the guest speaker at the City of Joondalup’s business forum titled Surviving and Thriving in the Digital Age at Joondalup Resort on Tuesday morning.
Speaking to a crowd of more than 150 people, he shared his outlook for WA businesses and the major trends that are affecting the State’s economy.
He said areas “doing it tough” last year included mining services, retail, property builders, recruitment and business services because WA’s population growth had stalled, the mining construction boom had ended, there was “a lot of digital disruption” and uncertainty about the future.
“The biggest killer of business is uncertainty,” he said.
“People make decisions in business – to invest, to grow, to employ someone, to buy that van – if there’s a degree of certainty about the future.
“When there’s a degree of uncertainty, those plans are postponed or whittled down or maybe cancelled.”
However, he said there were “bright spots” for information and communication technology, digital companies, profession services, agribusiness and some mining and “great potential” for tourism, education, agriculture, health services and start-up technology.
He said it was important for business owners to embrace the next generation of digital marketing to stay competitive and meet the needs of ever-changing consumer behaviours.
“It really is up to us as business owners and managers to make things happen,” he said.
“Certainly from what we’re seeing at Business News, there is more good news around at the moment as compared to a year or two ago.
“There are more corporate deals being done, there’s been an upswing in activity in 2017, it’s better than it was.
“Of course, there is some stress out there in certain sectors but it’s not all doom and gloom.”
Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard said only 54 per cent of new small business entries in WA in 2013-14 survived to 2016. “In order for small business to grow and prosper, it is vital that operators take advantage of the many programs and opportunities available to them in order to grow their business,” he said.
He said a recently completed business needs survey would help the City better understand the needs of Joondalup businesses and inform future activities.