WHERE ARE YOUR BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES?
More and more of our clients are looking outside the box for near and mid-term opportunities. For many, that is to the south.
The real and massive changes now beginning to occur in the global economy have always intrigued us, and now are critical, but we rarely find the answers we look for in mass media sources.
Reading the Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, or Financial Times may have made for a pleasant cup of coffee until this September. Now investors and business managers look for one bright ray amidst the daily articles at any of these excellent, staid publications.
We look to these and other sources to understand yesterday’s global finance and corporate news. But we leave investment news, projections and advice to others more competent. Our focus is marketing, research, planning and technology.
So today’s discussion touches on where some businesses are finding opportunities, along with a ferw marketing communications observations that you can apply today. Here are a few of many clues to follow.
ARCHITECTS SEE STRONG DEMAND SOUTH OF THE BORDER
Clue #1: Architectural Record today has a brief article titled Architects Head South to Weather the Economic Storm. In brief, while most of the world experiences recession and stagflation fears, U.S. architects are finding considerable work in Central and South America. Ecuador [Wikipedia] [map] and other countries have experienced multiple economic downturns, and have a perception that they will ride this one out. These countries have also experienced significant growth recently.
Our perspective: More and more in the coming 6 to 24 months, entrepreneurs and corporations in various industries will look for revenue and growth opportunities to offset losses in the U.S. and elsewhere. Parts of Central and South America remain vibrant and not fear-driven. Construction in Mexico, Ecuador, and other countries will offer opportunity to businesses driven by owners with personal interest in those areas.
DEVELOPER INTEREST IN BELIZE
Clue #2: For the past few years, Curt Brooks, owner and CEO of Mirage Advertising, a design, video and interactive company in Monroeville, PA, has worked with partners to develop real estate in Belize [Wikipedia] [map]. They continue to see much opportunity in the country.
DEVELOPER INTEREST IN MEXICO
Clue #3: A developer client who has invested in and managed large commercial and residential construction projects throughout the United States and elsewhere is now acquiring land and building homes in Mexico. He believes the opportunities are much stronger in regions of Mexico than in the U.S. for the coming few years.
GARY SCOTT’S ECUADOR
Clue #4: One of the highlights of my day is reading global investing advisor Gary Scott’s free eLetter. Here’s why.
Gary and his wife shuttle between their rural North Carolina farm and their Ecuador hotel and properties. They have built multiple businesses around their lifestyle, professional experience and passions.
They follow the weather in their seasonal travels between two beautiful locations. In addition to providing multinational currency and financial trading observations, they offer in-depth paid eLetter subscriptions, seminars at both locations, Ecuador real estate advice and seminars, Spanish language classes, and more.
Gary openly shares his approach and income from their online businesses, discusses their personal and business ethics, and integrates their mutual interests into business opportunities. He supports export of products made by Ecuadorian people and flowers, and builds a comfortable bridge for Americans looking for waterfront condos at amazing prices of $45,000 to $90,000.
His description of his daily eLetter is indicative of his business practices – “Stimulating ideas and useful resources to help you live a healthier, more affluent and fulfilling life.” Browse his site. It’s always fun to read, because of his knowledge, openness and passion.
IS LATIN AMERICA A BED OF ROSES?
Clue #5: Of course not. No rose patch comes without thorns, and no country or region is idyllic at present. If you don’t bring your own assets with you, credit availability can be a challenge. For example, the Financial Times yesterday published an article titled, Economists warn on LatAm credit squeeze.
“Huge volumes of US Treasury bonds issued as part of an effort to reverse an economic slump threaten to stop access to credit by Latin American governments facing financing needs of an estimated $250bn next year, a group of prominent economists from the region has warned.
“The risk that Latin American and other emerging market borrowers may be “crowded out” from credit markets by a US fiscal deficit that could exceed $1,000bn next year has not been much emphasised in the scramble to save the US economy. But the economists said “powerful and innovative” new mechanisms were required to deal with the threat in order to direct money back into the region.”
Of course, despite the massive financial industry bailout we are now saddled with, businesses small and large in the U.S. are seeing the same liquidity challenge. And those small businesses who have relied on credit cards for some of their non-traditional financing are in for a major squeeze of their own. Our suspicions on this were collaborated on December 1 with the Reuters article, Credit-card industry may cut $2 trillion lines: analyst.
“The U.S. credit-card industry may pull back well over $2 trillion of lines over the next 18 months due to risk aversion and regulatory changes, leading to sharp declines in consumer spending, prominent banking analyst Meredith Whitney said. The credit card is the second key source of consumer liquidity, the first being jobs, the Oppenheimer & Co analyst noted. ‘In other words, we expect available consumer liquidity in the form of credit-card lines to decline by 45 percent.’”
The loss of credit card liquidity would be a shock to the economy comparable to the housing bust. I hope that someone with responsibility has a plan in place to prevent or offset this. But our charge is to act with personal and corporate responsibly, not to expect a magic bailout.
While the U.S. dollar has lost relative value against most currencies, there remain some places where you can obtain wonderful value. If you have the opportunity for flexible travel in the coming months, consider Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, or Belize. Or maybe Venezuela, where tango aficionado friends of ours travel yearly and enjoy beautiful dinners for $5.
ARE YOU EXPLORING TO THE SOUTH? LET US KNOW WHAT YOU FIND.