Ross Greenwood’s gospel truths at Big Pineapple
THINK young, embrace technology, watch the trends and constantly look for opportunities.
This, according to Australian financial analyst Ross Greenwood, is the secret to business success in the rapidly changing landscape of the 21st century.
The popular TV and radio financial guru thrilled a crowd of receptive businesspeople at yesterday's Sunshine Coast Business and Workstyle Expo lunch.
Mr Greenwood was rushed from the Brisbane airport to the Big Pineapple to deliver the keynote speech at yesterday's lunch but if he was tired or flustered, he certainly didn't show it.
The financial analyst and cultural commentator was a dynamo, delivering a treasure trove of business truths and sage advice with the enthusiasm and charisma of a pentecostal preacher.
Discussing the challenges Coast retailers faced from cheap overseas products, Mr Greenwood said we should concentrate on providing consumers with an experience.
"The consumer can go overseas; the fact is you have to be adapting because right now for retail, it's about experience," he said.
"They walk in, and you don't just sit there or your shop assistant sits there - it's about getting up and getting motivated and going 'gee whiz, we're happy to be in business and we want your business' and people will respond."
Mr Greenwood warned the crowd businesspeople could not afford to be left behind by rapidly evolving technology.
"The minute you let technology go past you, you're pretty much going backward in business," he said.
"You might sit there and say 'why do I have to worry about Facebook? I don't want to know what someone has for breakfast'. You don't have to know what people are having for breakfast.
"It's about the fact that you, by the very nature of being connected with people, using the most modern telecommunications systems, suddenly find yourself in a situation where you have to think like a young person."
Meanwhile, Australia's greatest financial challenge of the 21st century would be our rapidly aging population, Mr Greenwood warned.
"Right now, in the over 100-age group in Australia, there are 6381 people," he said.
"Australians are living longer. There are now an extra 4000 people - almost - aged over 100 than there were seven years ago.
"Now if you go to 2075, for example, there will be about 570,000 people in Australia aged over 100.
"Who's going to pay for their health care? Who's paid for their pension for the previous 20 years of their life because their super will have run out? Who's going to pay for their food?
"And this is also the reason why Australia will need more population.It's the reason why you've got to spot the trends, stay up with technology. It's the reason why there is no such thing as a retirement age.
"Because work should be enjoyable and if you don't like what you do, get out and do something else. It should never be a chore."
Despite Australia's image as a happy-go-lucky country, Mr Greenwood said Aussies had become financially conservative.
"Did you know that since the global financial crisis, the divorce rate in Australia has fallen? The divorce rate, which was heading towards one in two, is now heading back to one in three," he told the crowd.
"Did you also know that the rate of marriage has increased since the global financial crisis? And the age that people are getting married is becoming younger.
"We're becoming very conservative in Australia."
This new-found conservatism, however, presented astute businesspeople with a great opportunity.
"If you can work out a way to capture people's interest, they have got money in their pocket and plenty of capacity to spend it with you," he said.
"It doesn't matter what you do right now, it's working out how to do things differently to capture some of that money because that is billions upon billions of dollars that is sitting in households' pockets right now."
As he prepared to leave and rush back to the airport, Mr Greenwood reminded his audience that fortune favoured the brave.
"You won't get everything right - in life, in business. It's about trying to mitigate risks and get most things right," he said.
"But the truth is, ultimately, unless you have a go, unless you spot the trends and are prepared to really make a play, what you'll find is gradually you'll go backwards and you'll be one of those people relying on someone else to look after you when you turn 100.
"In life you need just one element that no one talks about.
"Everyone says it's just skill, about how clever you've got to be, but luck is absolutely important. Good luck."