Six On / Six Off: The Business of Fort McMurray
Off: Given the current economic state, surely nobody is taking the leap into entrepreneurship in Fort McMurray.
On: It might seem startling, but new business ventures are continuing to pop up in our community, featuring everything from new services to new retail opportunities. This seems to speak to two things: a belief in the economic viability of our community, and a genuine passion on the part of local entrepreneurs to tap into wants and needs that are not being met in our region through existing businesses.
Off: Aren’t current businesses already struggling with the economic downturn? How could new businesses think this is a good time to start?
On: There is no doubt the nature of the resource-based economy of this region has an impact on local business, and this stretch of the boom-bust cycle is challenging businesses to continue to deliver while keeping a keen eye on the bottom line. The reality is that good businesses know their market, and adjust for when times are good and bad. And smart new business owners have done their homework in advance and understand the scenario they are entering.
Off: The problems must be overwhelming for both existing and new businesses; how are they going to counter the effects of the downturn?
On: Smart business people know that problems are opportunities in disguise. A change in economic circumstance might mean a business needs to be more efficient, offer new or different services or even change their business model entirely. The businesses that ride out economic downturns are the ones flexible enough to change – or smart enough to recognize that they have a chance to build something entirely new.
Off: I hear a lot of rumours about businesses on the verge of going under; I guess there isn’t much we can do to help.
On: On the contrary, if the adage “shop local” ever had meaning, it is even more critical now. Shopping local not only supports those local businesses, it supports the people they employ: our friends and neighbours. Every dollar we put into the local economy helps local business and supports our community.
Off: It has to be pretty disheartening for local business owners; first the economic downturn, then the fire, so it has to be hard to stay optimistic.
On: It seems that optimism is one of the hallmarks of the business owner. Optimism, and a willingness to try and even possibly to fail; it is a leap of faith to start a business no matter the economic situation. One has to be pretty appreciative of the entrepreneurs in our community; if it wasn’t for them, we would not have many of the great services and retail outlets we currently enjoy.
Off: I think we will see a lot of businesses struggle. And some will fail.
On: There is a hard truth in that businesses will struggle, and sadly some may not make it through the current economic state. But there are others that will not only survive but flourish, and some will simply scrape through until better times return. Every resident of this community needs to keep one thing in mind: if we want to keep our local businesses, then we need to support them. Shop local, and support the business of YMM.