Preparing for an uncertain and complex future in business requires strong leadership and understanding, according to Dominic Pelligana, Partner, KPMG Enterprise. Introducing Bernard Salt, KPMG Partner and demographer, Dominic says gathering new information and considering it from fresh perspectives is key to navigating change.
Bernard Salt, KPMG Partner and demographer, highlights key trends, challenges and exciting opportunities in the private and family business sector.
“Should I invest my youth, my energy my capital, my family and my career into the Australian continent and the economy?” – Bernard Salt, Partner, KPMG
Bernard Salt forecasts the future in terms of social movements and trends, rather than pure statistics. “It’s always about the story – the narrative behind the numbers,” he says.
In his presentation, The Future Business Landscape, Bernard considers high level demographic information to predict how the future might appear for Australian business. He argues it’s necessary to look at the Australian obsession with ‘lifestyle’ – whether that be residential property, a sea change or a tree change, for example.
“Is there a lifestyle element to your business?” he says. “That’s the business to have been in over the last 25 years or so, and I do not see it changing in the next 25 years or so.”
For Australian entrepreneurs seeking a niche, he recommends considering this love for lifestyle in the choice of products and services offered. This could mean building or financing apartments, providing the stylish appliances for them, or even selling the manufactured stone for the bench tops in those apartments.
Education and skills, such as a University degree or technical qualification, are vital to participate in Australia’s business future, he warns. But if Australia doesn’t shift its focus to engineering, science, technology and mathematics, it could fall behind.
“Yet you go to Japan and India and they are all over those types of subjects,” he says.
Bernard says entrepreneurial drive should be celebrated, and those with family businesses should harness their unique position.
“There is a tremendous advantage to be had in family business because of that focus and that longevity, but there’s also some risks associated with that, where you need to be very, very firm to make sure you have that broad spread of experience going into the management team.”