This blog post has taken a while to write, for those of you who have been watching the empty “pending” tab for some time. For newcomers: welcome! I will try to keep it brief. (*For part 1 of this series, please see: http://www.ogalaws.wordpress.com/issues-counseling/).
The Eurozone remains in deep crisis, an extended period of further Global Economic Stagnation is a significant possibility, economic recovery in the United States has long remained on shaky ground despite occasional gains, and substantially everywhere else and anywhere else you look, either things are slowing, or a storm of tension is rising just below the surface calm – at least, so it seems to the naked eye. There are pockets of prosperity, apart from the billionaires who in America want to pay a fairer tax share just like the everyday worker (being more often than not the “willing and able, available potential worker”, nowadays), but who in Europe and especially France, want no part of this; and there are also areas of opportunity for the bold, the nimble, and the plain old imaginative who refuse to stay or remain as one of the crowd under such a cloud of despondency. This is not to belittle or ridicule the very serious situation of those who have lost their homes, cannot afford medical treatment or medications, have lost relationships and families, or have just lost hope in a better future, or any meaningful future. Yes, things are a mess; but should we lose hope now, when – “the Occupy Movement” aside – the whole world is not at war with itself? There have been two World Wars in recent memory, and myriad Proxy Wars, Civil Wars, border disputes, skirmishes, Operations Other than War, and both high and low-level “tests of wills” (or “games of chicken”, if you insist), since that time; and not once, not even during a near-nuclear test of wills in the Cuban Missile Crisis, was all hope fully lost. Mankind as a group and in sub-groups, has a time-tested tendency to be ingenious, resilient, and stubborn; especially in the face of what many a reasonable onlooker would call simply insurmountable odds, and often succeed. So, let’s get to it!
First, we review the context on three levels – federal, state/provincial, and private sector.
The jobs market and poverty rates are directly and inversely related, for as the former goes down, the latter must go up, and vice-versa. At the same time, we know that an economy moves on money, both in cash and through credit. Unfortunately, all of the jobs needed, worldwide, cannot be created by U.S., Chinese, or even European stimulus alone when banks around the world are caught in the tricky situation of heeding regulatory calls for more lending, while also raising and maintaining lending standards to avoid another credit fiasco. As for local businesses? Some have long hoarded cash. Fewer people buying all around due to lack of disposable income from tighter wages; fewer people employed in the first place; and fewer businesses spending on anything but the barest minimum, create a very complex mix for anyone trying to balance their books.
State and federal governments are sometimes accused of having a lackadaisical attitude to the totality of the situation. Even in Ontario, the province appears to be stagnant and lacking direction as the host province for a federal government that has promised to make 19,000 of its employees redundant, and with a provincial government – also battling deficits – that has a leadership crisis.
However, political leaders occasionally also get accolades for their dogged determination and willingness to do whatever they feel is necessary to get things moving, again, and to keep them moving in a growth direction. Once in a while, though, you can still hear a strident plea to not put short-term politics ahead of the long-term good of the people.
Individuals and employers on both sides of the border, are understandably quite hesitant to make any large capital outlays or expenditures because of these public sector considerations. As a result, U.S. and Canadian hiring and general confidence in the economy remain depressed, U.S. and Canadian holiday sales were down, and Canadian holiday travel was substantially hampered by bad weather and power outages, which undoubtedly made a good number of people just stay at home. Now that the Fiscal Cliff brinksmanship in the United States is over, there still remain many known and still to arise or be realized options to further exacerbate or attenuate the mass malaise.
THE CORE AREAS.
Having taken the time to seek-out trends, constants, and changing paradigms, S’imprime-ça (the wholly-owned, management and strategic consulting subsidiary of George Law Offices), has considered and chosen 8 (“eight”) core areas in which one might consider concentrating, in order to survive and even thrive, in any sustained economic slump. A truly global listing of examples is somewhat beyond the scope of this wee blog; ergo, I shall concentrate this treatment on the United States of America, with a focus on hot spots and clusters of hot spots by location, such as in the State of New Jersey. Admittedly, parallels can doubtless be found in many other places both within and outside the North American continent. Some examples may be dated, some proposed projects may also have since been cancelled. Nevertheless, we list them here because they are still valid, and remain quite relevant. These 8, which spell “LESS MUST”, are:
(a) On a predominantly Macro-level:
(b) On a predominantly Micro-level:
Although the elements at this level may appear to be implemented at a macro-level, it is their impetus or ultimate intention that stems from the micro- or individual level.
Leveraging, as initiated by the person or an individual entity, is generally brought about as a means for it to ultimately gain some macro-level advantage.
Exigencies, or emergent situations that spur massive increases in spending, tend to come as a result of environmental or technological disasters that require cleanup; care for the displaced, deceased, and dispossessed; and reconstruction of damaged or destroyed protective measures, or fabrication and installation of additional protective measures.
Stimulus is a recurring topic of late, as the need to get individuals on the move and back to work at the micro-level, leads to top-down policies at the macro-level.
Finally, increased spending on Security, for example results from larger, and external structural changes such as rising unemployment, some heightened sense of general insecurity, overall – such as due to recent, tragic, and well-publicized incidents of extreme firearms violence – or greater competitive and other pressures (including through economic espionage and simply having ever-more valuable intellectual property to protect).
The wrong thing to do with downtime is to remain idle, especially when that time could be leveraged to your advantage. Education might be an option, if you have the desire and ability to benefit from any free or discounted educational options – whether in your field or in a field that might become yours, if given the opportunity to appeal to you – or options tied to education, such as student discount bundles and programs. There has also been a significant upsurge in the number and quality of blogs, as large numbers of people find they have greater time on their hands and realize that this is a way to: (a) market their knowledge and aptitudes on a budget; (b) educate themselves and keep up their research and writing skills; and (c) do something useful and fun in their down-time.
With regard to a business, use the slowdown to take a critical look at your operations and explore options to enhance your organizational efficiencies and economies of scale. Software developers can always write and promote programs and utilities to make something either faster and more streamlined through outsourcing, or more fun, as inspired by something they thought-up or came across when they “apparently” had nothing better to do. Inspiration can hit at any time, for individuals. And, those (staying alert and attuned) who can offer some value-added services related to public sector makeup, or private sector break-up, can also find openings to do what they do best.
Other leveraging examples we saw included several in tied-marketing, such as loss leaders, the pre “like” version of targeted and reactive online advertising, lenders helping their client businesses compete for and win government contracts, businesses taking their tangible and visible products directly to the cautious consumer in a knowledge-based economy, construction companies training and assisting their competitor builders (and potential sub-contractors), and co-located complementary product lines. To make shopping and spending easier, retailers in recent years revived and encouraged layaway purchase options – long disused due to immediate cashflow needs.
Unlike Mission Creep, which is the often ill-advised expansion of job scope to unfamiliar areas with less than stellar results, Category Capture is the expansion of service offerings to better or more fully make available the diversity of services that one’s clients do or might eventually need. One example of this is the purchase by Avis Budget Group Inc., a rental car industry leader, of Zipcar Inc., a pioneer in the fledgling but rapidly growing market for car sharing services. If you can’t beat them (or they are eating your lunch) …… then buy them!
Both Hurricane Irene of August, 2011, and Hurricane Sandy of October, 2012, led to significant clean-up and recovery efforts, and costs. Spending both during and after exigencies can bring much needed employment and other knock-on economic benefits, especially for those individuals and entities who are the top or sole providers of some specialized element needed for that exigency – like oil dispersants for a marine oil spill.
Federal, provincial, and state examples of stimulus abound, whether or not as successful as originally planned, and they are simply far too numerous and diverse to list here.
Spending in this area can include build-outs, which require the recruitment of skilled tradesmen and tradeswomen; actual systems and products supplied by vendors both large and small; and specialized service and integration contracts or hardening, which will involve highly-skilled technicians and consultants – often with high security clearances and several years of past experience in the military or security field before branching-out on their own, or coming back into government as contractors on a modified pay-grade.
Similarly, these micro-level actions tend to have macro-level impacts.
Maintenance, whether of products, or functionalities, or service levels, is noticed more in its absence. Bad maintenance of infrastructure can lead to fatalities and liability, in sinkholes, collapsed bridges and parking garages, and falling building facades, as just some of the examples from recent stories in the U.S. and Canadian news media.
Upgrading, which is an immediate and local action, tends to have a distant and more widespread result, as the facility, individual, or entity is primed and set to move on and thereby benefit from, future opportunities as they are noticed and become available.
Sustenance, is a permanent opportunity as people will always eat to function – whether real food, rations or specially formulated pills as food, or intravenous cocktails.
Once upon a time, people traveled more in search of work, because they had to physically mail or drop a resume. Then, fax and email reduced that need. Now, social media and old school websites, online videos, and so much more, all act as interactive resumes, and people travel even less. Add to this, internet accessibility on the go through Smartphones, Tablets, and so forth, along with the ability to telecommute, and people hardly ever need to leave home for work. Hence, the tech. of TeleTransport, is now one.
Maintaining infrastructure is a constant challenge, whether bridges, tunnels, roads, utilities, or even municipal services which are all a part of the “enabling” mosaic that one can describe as infrastructure in a post-classical sense. Without properly functioning depots, terminals, ports, and airports, commerce and life get seriously stuck in the mud.
Wise leaders will thus strive to keep their infrastructure up to date and up to the task, including offering encouragement and incentives for people and businesses to take advantage of such enhanced functionalities as smart meters, and clean technologies like windmills and solar energy, in order to enhance their service levels and overall energy-efficiency. Unfortunately, it is not all actual and aspiring vendors – even the first-movers – in these areas that will sail through to the promised or perpetual prosperity, and so an abundance of caution coupled with a good and flexible plan, are both very strongly advised.
Whether this is a soup kitchen feeding an ever-growing torrent of the economically disadvantaged, a restaurant or a diner with a steady or faltering clientele, or a farmer trying to get the produce to market while it is still fresh, food is quite unlikely to go out of style. However, major investments should always be preceded by good market research and feasibility studies, because entering a business with prices that are too high for that local market or too low to cover what needs to be covered, will likely create major issues. Yes, you can start a business during a recession, but must have (and heed) the right advice.
The theory of TeleTransport was for it to take over. However, persistently high rates of unemployment in Europe and the Americas have brought back all of those direct resume drops and needs for travel. People trying to conserve valuable funds during the jobsearch will try to take public transport whenever possible, avoiding high fuel costs and parking fees (or fines). Vendors and providers of local transportation may see some seasonal fluctuations. However, there will likely not be any total drop-off, due to the constant need. Vendors and providers of more distant travel, as we have seen from the airlines, will face steeper and more sustained economic challenges as fewer people take vacations.
Telephone and internet providers (one and the same with VOIP) saw a boost in business because those who properly leverage their access time to the internet – whether in paid, personal monthly service subscriptions or at a library or internet café – are more interested in securing and sustaining their access to affordable and efficient telecommunications services. Due to the tested adage that change is constant, however, portable hotspots now let those with a smartphones or tablets and minimalist or unlimited plans, roam ever further away from “one place” or “fixed space” online access providers.
Of course, some jobs will always need physical relocation and cannot be done remotely.
Whether finding a niche, converting your business model or personal pitch, or managing change astutely, it is always important to create and perfect the most sustainable mix that fits best with your own skills and abilities, preferences, timeframe(s), and temperament.
There is a way! One must stay active on multiple fronts (jobsearch, keeping skills sets sharp, and self-promotion or work creation – in horizon scanning and keeping a keen eye on 1 or more of these 8 listed areas); while also watching your general health and fitness, and stress levels, so as not to melt-down for lack of energy, or give-up, for lack of hope.
Wishing a happy and successful 2013, to all.
Ekundayo George is a sociologist and a lawyer, with over a decade of legal experience including business law and counseling (business formation, outsourcing, commercial leasing, healthcare privacy, Cloud applications, and Cybersecurity); diverse litigation, as well as ADR; and regulatory practice (planning and zoning, environmental controls, landlord and tenant, and GRC – governance, risk, and compliance investigations, audits, and counseling) in both Canada and the United States. He is licensed to practice law in Ontario, Canada, as well as in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., in the United States of America (U.S.A.). See: http://www.ogalaws.com
He is an experienced strategic and management consultant; sourcing, managing, and delivering on high stakes, strategic projects with multiple stakeholders and multidisciplinary teams. See: http://www.simprime-ca.com
Backed by courses in management, organizational behaviour, and micro-organizational behaviour, Mr. George is also a writer, tweeter and blogger (as time permits), and a published author in Environmental Law and Policy (National Security aspects).
Hyperlinks to external sites are provided to readers of this blog as a courtesy and convenience, only, and no warranty is made or responsibility assumed by either or both of George Law Offices and Strategic IMPRIME Consulting & Advisory, Inc. (“S’imprime-ça”), in whole or in part for their content, or their accuracy, or their availability.
This article does not constitute legal advice or create any lawyer-client relationship.
 Margo D. Beller. Europe Needs More Than Cash: Deutsche Bank CEO. Published on CNBC.com, October 14, 2011. Online: > http://www.cnbc.com/id/44908372<
 Patrick Allen. Goldman Sachs Sees 40% Risk of Great Stagnation. Published on CNBC.com, September 29, 2011. Online: >http://www.cnbc.com/id/44713332/Goldman_Sachs_Sees_40_Risk_of_Great_Stagnation<
 BBC. U.S. retail sales in strong September growth. Published on BBC.com, October 14, 2011. Online:>http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15310997<; See also Pedro da Costa and Mark Felsenthal, for Reuters. U.S. recovery ‘close to faltering’: Bernanke. Published on Financialpost.com, October 4, 2011. Online: >http://business.financialpost.com/2011/10/04/bernanke-says-fed-ready-to-step-in/<
 See e.g. Heather Stewart. Chinese hard landing won’t help western economies: China’s exports may be in decline – which is not the economic good news that some might think. Published on theguardian.co.uk, October 16, 2011. Online: >http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/oct/16/china-exports-decline-hard-landing<
 Pankaj Mishra. The dead end of globalisation looms before our youth. Even in the west there is little chance of stable jobs or affordable education. Across the world the rage will grow. Published in theguardian.co.uk, August 25, 2011. Online: > http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/aug/25/dead-end-globalisation-youth-rage<; See also Ha-Joon Chang. The Bric countries can’t save us: The emerging economies won’t prevent worldwide stagnation. The rich world must abandon its 18th-century ideas. Published in theguardian.co.uk, October 11, 2011. Online: >http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/11/global-recession-leaders-must-act?INTCMP=SRCH<
 Amy Bingham. Warren Buffett Tells Congress To Raise Taxes On Wealthy. Published on abcnews.com, August 15, 2011. Online: >http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/warren-buffett-raise-taxes-wealthy-friends/story?id=14307993&singlePage=true<
 Jamie Dettmer. France’s rich are fleeing the country – With a Socialist president in charge and dramatic tax hikes looming, they’re taking their money–and splitting. Published on macleans.ca, Tuesday, September 4, 2012. Online: > http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/09/04/take-the-money-and-run/<
 Mark Townsend and Lisa O’Carroll. Occupy’ anti-capitalism protests spread around the world: Thousands march in Rome, Sydney and Madrid as Occupy Wall Street protests go global. Published on theguardian.co.uk, October 15, 2011. Online: >http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/16/occupy-protests-europe-london-assange<
 See e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_Missile_Crisis. Lasting in total from October 14, 1962, to November 20, 1962, “The Cuban Missile Crisis”, as it was and remains known in the United States of America and one portion of the Cold War world (i.e. NATO and the former Non-Aligned countries, then classified by General Charles de Gaulle as “First World” and “Third World”, respectively, before these two terms became generally misunderstood and widely misapplied), was also called “The October Crisis”, in Cuba, and “The Caribbean Crisis”, in Russia (i.e. former Warsaw Pact countries: de Gaulle’s “Second World”, which lay on the other side of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain dividing Europe into East and West).
 John Goodman. Why The U.S. Job Market Remains Terribly Bleak. Published on forbes.com, November 15, 2012. Online: >http://www.forbes.com/sites/johngoodman/2012/11/15/why-the-u-s-job-market-remains-terribly-bleak/<
 The Associated Press. U.S. poverty rate increases to 1 in 6 people. Published on nj.com, September 13, 2011. Online: >http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/09/us_poverty_rate_increases_to_1.html#incart_mce<
 Constantine Gardner. Marc Faber still sees global recession in 2013, says stimulus has impoverished the U.S. Published on bi-me.com, August 25, 2012. Online: >http://www.bi-me.com/main.php?id=59005&t=1&cg=4<
 Paul Hannon. BOE Member Warns on Forced Bank Lending. Published on wsj.com, November 13, 2012. Online: >http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324556304578116561769116762.html<; See also Stephen McMahon. RBA warns Australia’s major banks to ignore temptation to cut lending standards and write riskier loans. Published on heraldsun.com, September 26, 2012. Online: >http://www.heraldsun.com.au/money/banking/rba-warns-australias-major-banks-to-ignore-temptation-to-cut-lending-standards-and-write-riskier-loans/story-e6frfh5o-1226481411832 <
 Eliot Caroom/The Star Ledger. Fearful of economy, N.J.-based companies sit on large piles of money. Published on nj.com, Tuesday, August 9, 2011. Online: >http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/08/fearful_of_economcy_nj-based_c.html<
 Andrew Kitchenman. Business issues are relegated to back burner in Statehouse – Christie: Pro-industry priorities pushed back until close of lame-duck session. Published on NJBIZ.com, September 12, 2011. Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110912/NJBIZ01/110919996/Business-issues-are-relegated-to-back-burner-in-Statehouse<; See also NBC News staff and wire reports. Bipartisan outrage after House skips vote on $60 billion Sandy aid bill. Published on nbcnews.com, January 2, 2013. Online: >http://nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/02/16295303-bipartisan-outrage-after-house-skips-vote-on-60-billion-sandy-aid-bill?lite<
 Joanna Smith. Federal budget 2012: Conservatives to cut 19,000 public service jobs. Published on torontostar.com, Ottawa Bureau, March 30, 2012. Online: >http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1153804–federal-budget-2012-conservatives-to-cut-19-000-public-service-jobs<
See e.g. Linda Nguyen, Post Media News. Blunt Drummond report urges tough cuts to eliminate Ontario’s deficit. Published on canada.com, February 16, 2012. Online: >http://www.canada.com/news/Blunt+report+urges+tough+cuts+eliminate+Ontario+deficit/6162868/story.html<
 Ontario’s Premier, the Honourable Dalton McGuinty, announced his resignation in mid-October, 2012, but the party will not choose a new leader until January, 2013, at the earliest. See CBC News. Ontario Liberal Leader Hopeful Wants To Avoid Quick Election. Published on huffingtonpost.ca, December 24, 2012. Online: >http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/12/24/ontario-liberal-leader-ho_n_2360056.html<
 John Froonjian. New Jersey Senate committees approve 10 job-creation bills. Published on pressofatlanticcity.com, Monday, September 19, 2011. Online: >http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/press/new_jersey/new-jersey-senate-committees-approve-job-creation-bills/article_353ee640-e31d-11e0-bfe4-001cc4c03286.html<; See also Erik Bernstein. Bloomberg Scores with Sandy Crisis Management. Published on business2community.com, December 3, 2012. Online: >http://www.business2community.com/strategy/bloomberg-scores-with-sandy-crisis-management-0347032<
 Mark Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario (GPO). Ontario needs responsible leadership, not partisan brinksmanship. Submitted by Jaymini Bhikha on the GPO.ca website, Wednesday, 2012-06-20. Online: >http://www.gpo.ca/statement/ontario-needs-responsible-leadership-not-partisan-brinksmanship<
 Steve Hargreaves. August jobs report: Hiring slows, unemployment falls. Published on CNNMoney, September 7, 2012. Online: >http://money.cnn.com/2012/09/07/news/economy/august-jobs-report/index.html< As the author succinctly writes, the combination of slowed hiring with falling unemployment can only result from one thing: “[t]he unemployment rate fell largely because 368,000 people stopped looking for work, many of them young people”. But See Katie Eder. Federal data: Hiring continues at slow, steady pace. Published on NJBIZ.com, January 4, 2013. >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20130104/NJBIZ01/130109928/-1/enews_dailyT5< Recent U.S. Jobs numbers were recently revised upwards, with renewed projections for the year ahead.
 See contra CBC News. Canada’s jobless rate drops to 4-year low – Ontario cranks out 33,000 new jobs in December. Published on cbcnews, January 4, 2013. >http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2013/01/04/business-jobs-canada.html< The latest Canadian job numbers show an uptick in some sectors, but with strong regional differences. However, for a fuller assessment of general Canadian economic confidence levels and other factors, see Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW). How are Canadians Really doing? The 2012 CIW Report. Published on the website of the University of Waterloo, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, October 23, 2012. Online: >https://uwaterloo.ca/canadian-index-wellbeing/sites/ca.canadian-index-wellbeing/files/uploads/files/CIW2012-HowAreCanadiansReallyDoing-23Oct2012_0.pdf<
 Nivedita Bhattacharjee and Jessica Wohl. U.S. retailers scramble after lackluster holiday sales. Published on Reuters.com, Wednesday, December 26, 2012. Online: >http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/26/us-usa-retail-holiday-idUSBRE8BL03G20121226<
 Guy Dixon. Holiday season a let-down for retailers. Published on the Globe and Mail.com, Thursday, December 27, 2012. Online: >http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/holiday-season-a-let-down-for-retailers/article6756666/<
 CBC News. Holiday travel a wintry mess in Quebec, central Ontario – Thousands without power after heavy, wet snow topples power lines. Published on CBCNews, December 22, 2012. Online: >http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/12/22/weather-canada-winter.html<
 S’imprime-ça (Strategic IMPRIME Consulting & Advisory, Inc.) is the management and strategic consulting side of George Law Offices that maintains relationships with a diversity of professionals in multiple jurisdictions to enable rapid team formation, remote work – or TeleTransport – and surge capacity as needed. The letters I-M-P-R-I-M-E denote its core focal areas of: “Investigations; Media effectiveness, audit, and tracking; Public relations, and brand management; Regulatory and government affairs, governance, and shareholder and analyst communications; Issues counseling; Management consulting; and Effective lead and opportunity marketing”. To learn more, please visit us at: http://www.simprime-ca.com
 Katie Eder. Seton Hall extends tuition discount to top-tier law students. Published on NJBIZ.com, January 2, 2013. Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20130102/NJBIZ01/130109975/0/1792137269/Seton-Hall-extends-tuition-discount-to-top-tier-law-students<; See also Annamaria Andriotis. 15 Colleges Offering Tuition Discounts – A growing number of private colleges and universities are offering discounted tuition and other ways to save. Published on smartmoney.com, September 30, 2011. Online: >http://www.smartmoney.com/borrow/student-loans/15-colleges-offering-tuition-discounts-1317348321248/<
 Marti C. Daks. Weathering the economic storm – Promotional products company sees growth by reducing costs, outsourcing and combining multiple warehouse functions. Published August 8, 2011 on NJBiz.com. Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110808/NJBIZ01/110809Promotional products company sees growth by reducing costs, outsourcing and combining multiple warehouse functions909/-1/enews_NorthJersey<
 Melinda Caliendo. In nod to payroll industry, Jamesburg firm aims to get bills out of mailbox. Published on NJBIZ.com, September 6, 2011. Online: >http://njbiz.com/article/20110906/NJBIZ01/110909929/-1/enews_dailyt1<
 Melinda Caliendo. Terracycle taps Facebook game to encourage connection with consumers. Posted on NJBIZ.com, July 13, 2011. Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110713/NJBIZ01/110719961/-1/enews_dailyT4<
 United Press International, Inc. N.J.’s two Princetons finally become one. Published on UPI.com, January 2, 2013. Online: >http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2013/01/02/NJs-two-Princetons-finally-become-one/UPI-98911357106580/< Princeton Borough and Princeton Township expect to achieve major savings and efficiencies from their long-awaited merger.
 Reuters. Tyco Shareholders Approve Three Way Breakup. Published on reuters.com, Monday, 17 September, 2012. Online: >http://www.cnbc.com/id/49059140/Tyco_Shareholders_Approve_Three_Way_Breakup<
 Jeff Gelles, Inquirer Staff Writer. PMN offers tablet computers with apps subscriptions. Published on philly.com, September 14, 2011. Online: >http://articles.philly.com/2011-09-14/business/30149785_1_philadelphia-media-network-tablet-market-tablet-offer<; See also The Times Digital. Get a Nexus 7 for just £50 when you subscribe to The Times. Published on times.co.uk, December 1, 2012. Online: >http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/digital/article3615541.ece<
 Melinda Caliendo. Instant feedback creates a sophisticated online advertiser. Published on NJBIZ.com, September 12, 2011. Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110912/NJBIZ01/110919986/Instant-feedback-creates-a-sophisticated-online-advertiser<
 Melinda Caliendo. Helping small businesses land government contracts. Published on NJBIZ.com, August 12, 2011. Online: >http://njbiz.com/article/20110812/NJBIZ01/110819924/-1/enews_dailyT3<
 Melinda Caliendo. Xerox opens graphic showroom to woo business clients. Published on NJBIZ.com, August 16, 2011. Online: >http://njbiz.com/article/20110816/NJBIZ01/110819897/-1/enews_dailyT4<
 Melinda Caliendo. Skanska offers bids training to smaller builders. Published on NJBIZ.com, September 13, 2011. Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110913/NJBIZ01/110919941/-1/enews_dailyt5<
 Joan Verdon, Staff writer, The Record. Toys, Babies, perfect together, says Toys “R” Us. Published on northjersey.com, Tuesday, August 23, 2011. Online: >http://www.northjersey.com/news/business/128227603_More_combination_Toys__Babies_stores.html<; See also note 40 and accompanying text, as this is also an example of ”Category Capture”
 Melinda Caliendo. Toys R Us, other retailers hope layaway offers strengthen Christmas sales. Published on NJBIZ.com, October 6, 2011. Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20111006/NJBIZ01/111009908/0/spotlight/Toys-R-Us-other-retailers-hope-layaway-offers-strengthen-Christmas-sales<; See also Jane Taguciana. Is buying on layaway making a comeback? Published on theglobeandmail.com, Monday, November 26, 2012. Online: >http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/household-finances/is-buying-on-layaway-making-a-comeback/article5567036/?service=print<
 The Associated Press. Car rental company Avis Budget Group purchasing Zipcar in a deal worth nearly $500 million. Published on WashingtonPost.com, January 2, 2013. Online: >http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/car-rental-company-avis-budget-group-purchasing-zipcar-in-a-deal-worth-nearly-500-million/2013/01/02/f9c2d58a-54d2-11e2-89de-76c1c54b1418_story.html<
 Beth Fitzgerald. Economists find silver lining to Irene’s storm clouds. Published on NJBIZ.com, August 29, 2011. Online: >http://njbiz.com/article/20110829/NJBIZ01/110829874/-1/enews_dailyT1<; See also Edgar Sandoval/New York Daily News. Hurricane Sandy silver lining for thousands of unemployed New Yorkers? New jobs cleaning up the mess left by storm – Gov. Cuomo has set aside $27 million from a federal grant to hire more than 5,000 New Yorkers to help clean and rebuild their own neighborhoods. Published on nydailynews.com, November 26, 2012. Online: >http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/hurricane-sandy-silver-lining-thousands-unemployed-nyers-article-1.1208003<
 Jessica Resnick Ault. Little Nalco Will Benefit from BP’s Spill. Published on businessweek.com, May 13, 2010. Online: >http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_21/b4179019975403.htm<
 Melinda Caliendo. Honeywell lands $450M contract to service NASA satellites. Published on NJBIZ.com, September 7, 2011. Online: >http://njbiz.com/article/20110907/NJBIZ01/110909910/-1/enews_dailyT2<
 New York State Bridge Authority (NYSBA). Schumer, NYSBA Announce Critical Counterterrorism Upgrades for 5 Hudson Valley Bridges – Schumer Helped Secure Millions of Dollars. Published on nysba.state.ny.us, June 25, 2010. Online: >http://www.nysba.state.ny.us/index%20page/2010%20Media%20Release%20Pages/062510.html<
See e.g. NJBIZ. Port Newark Container Terminal breaks ground on $500M expansion. Published on NJBIZ.com, on July 27, 2011. Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110727/NJBIZ01/110729892/-1/enews_NorthJersey<
 Ontario Energy Board. Smart Meters and Time-of-use (TOU) Prices. Page last updated on November 28, 2012. Online: >http://www.ontarioenergyboard.ca/OEB/Consumers/Electricity/Smart%20Meters<
 Joel Landau, Staff writer. Atlantic County considering possible locations for windmills in Atlantic City, Egg Harbor Township. Published on pressofatlanticcity.com, Sunday, September 18, 2011, and last updated Monday, September 19, 2011. Online: >http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/press/atlantic/atlantic-county-considering-possible-locations-for-windmills-in-atlantic-city/article_77fcf100-e24d-11e0-bdb4-001cc4c03286.html< I do concede, though, that subsequent effects of Hurricanes Rita and Sandy, may well have caused a rethink of this plan.
 Melinda Caliendo. St. Peter’s announces large solar project to power three sites. Published on NJBIZ.com, September 15, 2011. Online: >http://njbiz.com/article/20110915/NJBIZ01/110919886/-1/enews_dailyT2<
 Beth Fitzgerald. South Jersey medical center unveils $1.89M in energy-efficient upgrades. Published on NJBIZ.com, September 1, 2011. Online: >http://njbiz.com/article/20110901/NJBIZ01/110909987/-1/enews_dailyT4<
 Mike Taugher and Peter Delevett, McClatchy Newspapers, The Record. Solar energy company collapse a worrisome sign for ’green-tech’ hopes. Published on northjersey.com, September 4, 2011. Online: >http://www.northjersey.com/news/business/129205743_Failure_of_solar_company_is_worrisome_for_U_S__green-tech_industry.html<
 For an example of one cautious company in the industry with a good and flexible plan and foresight, See Martin C. Daks. Long-range planning drives long-term growth – Road construction company boosts revenue by remaining flexible, preparing for future. Published on NJBIZ.com, August 29, 2011. Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110829/NJBIZ01/110829901/Long-range-planning-drives-l…9/6/2011Comment%7CE-mail%7CPrint%7CLike0August29.20113:00AMLon<
 Liza Jansen, special for CNBC.com. Young, Hopeless Europeans Flock to Former Colonies. Published on CNBC.com, Friday, 2 November, 2012. Online: >http://www.cnbc.com/id/49642514/Young_Hopeless_Europeans_Flock_to_Former_Colonies<
SWOT is outdated.
The standing paradigm for assessing business strategies and situations is the SWOT analysis, which considers Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This model is outdated, due to the speed at which business now operates, the diversity of potential influences and influencers that now be considered, and the increasing super-complexity of consumer, competition, and climate for business.
Multidisciplinary “BLITS”, a necessity.
In addition and as a result, any new paradigm must approach and pursue the many questions of modern business with a combination of business, legal, industry, technical, and strategic knowledge, skills, and abilities in order to properly occupy the field and turn over all of the stones that need to be so turned.
SSBSS must be merged.
To date, experts, academics, practitioners, and business leaders have further duplicated and convoluted approaches to the creation and evaluation of business strategy by using many different terms to say what is essentially the same thing; or squeezing ever more diverse content into each of these different terms. We call those leading options, the “Seven Smart Business Strategy Sisters” (SSBSS), and they are:
- Business Intelligence (mostly technical and statistical methods for data mining, benchmarking, and predictive analysis);
- Competitive Intelligence (mostly the who, where, what are they doing, and how are they doing it, with regard to competitors);
- Market Intelligence (essentially, knowing the market in terms of maturity, trends, and the like);
- Knowledge Management (essentially, having a good grip on what you know and how best to use it, what you do not know, and what you need to find out including its urgency level);
- Best Practices (revolving around training, industry and regulatory standards, and the like);
- Due Diligence (being scruples in ethics and corporate social responsibility; proper and adequate target scrutiny before a merger or acquisition; and proper and adequate corporate security protocols, to guard against harms);
- Contingency Planning (is guarding against extraordinary events: in the business process, due to environmental or regulatory complication, and due to third-party or other influences).
Ten Concentric and Co-central Corners (TOP Analysis).
What we have developed, then, is an analytical tool that covers ten concentric and co-central corners, or a TOP Analysis that properly contains, correlates, and contradistinguishes as appropriate, the Terrain, the Operations, and the Players with regard to business strategy, as follows.
“T” for Terrain.
At the four principal compass points and bounding the model’s remaining 6 points, we place the 4 Ts of Terrain: to the North, South, East, and West.
“O” for Operations.
Forming a trilateral pyramid with the base down, we have the Operations; being Overseers and Operations at the base, and Outliers at the apex.
•Operations (business processes), includes marketing, manufacturing, recruiting, raising financing, restructuring, and research and development.
•Overseers (government and governance), includes general and competition laws and regulations, ethics and corporate governance, and the regulators themselves.
•Outliers (special events), includes scenarios and modeling that considers environmental, product, industry, and contingent events, whether foreseeable or remote, in the business planning and hardening process.
“P” for Players.
Forming an inverted trilateral pyramid with its base-up, and intersecting the “O” pyramid to form a star, we have the Players; being the Product at that inverted apex, and the Population and Players at the inverted base.
•Product (good or service), will also consider planning, placement, promotions and projections.
•Population (the market), which can be anywhere and anytime in the current system of “absolute competition” filled with competing products, competing markets both physical and virtual, and proprietary technologies, will also consider channels, selections, segmentation, seniority, and differentiation; along with consumer-specific choices, locations, abilities, and tastes.
•Players (the competition), will consider competitors, partners, predators, and companies standing-by).
Further Portfolio analysis, Life-cycle analysis, Anticipatory analysis, Implication analysis, and Demandanalysis, can likewise be applied to each Operations element, each Players element, and each Terrain element, respectively.
The TOP Analysis promises to be a better and significantly more comprehensive means to get the job done, in helping you adroitly navigate changing times and paradigms to further leverage your success. Oh yes, about the four “T”s: you will learn of those when we assist you in applying the analysis :–)
Ekundayo George is a sociologist and a lawyer, with experience in business law and counseling, diverse litigation, and regulatory practice. He is licensed to practice law in Ontario, Canada, as well as in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., in the United States of America (U.S.A.). See, for example: http://www.ogalaws.com.
Mr. George is also an experienced strategic consultant; sourcing, managing, and delivering on large, high stakes, strategic projects with multiple stakeholders, large budgets, and multidisciplinary teams. See, for example: http://www.simprime-ca.com.
As an avid reader, writer and blogger Ekundayo George is a published author in Environmental Law and Policy (National Security aspects).
Hyperlinks to external sites are provided to readers of this blog as a courtesy and convenience, only, and no warranty is made or responsibility assumed by either or both of George Law Offices or Strategic IMPRIME Consulting & Advisory, Inc. (S’imprime-ça), in whole or in part for their content, or accuracy, or availability.
This article does not constitute legal advice or create any lawyer-client relationship.