2020 vision for business decision making

| February 14, 2020

The positive effect brought in by the start of a new year and decade seems to have inspired leaders to set clear visions and goals for the year ahead as well as finesse their five-year plans.

CEOs and founders of SME businesses have an inherent agility in their leadership. The CEO Confidence Index March Quarter 2020 is showing early signs of leaders refocusing business decisions in 2020 after enduring a sustained period of at economic activity.

These leaders read the ebbs and flows of the economy, and instead of pouring energy into what they can’t control, they direct their attention to what they can.

The CEO Confidence Index March Quarter 2020 reveals leaders’ confidence in the economy is gaining ground and an expectation the economy will softly pick up in the year ahead. While these are positive signs, the Index remains below the optimistic levels registered in 2017 and early 2018.

This quarter, CEOs across the country have demonstrated that they are feeling the impact of more than a year of stagnant economic growth and are less optimistic about economic conditions going into 2020. While own business indicators have been affected by the weak economic outlook, all indicators still remain in positive territory, indicating that though optimism has pared back it is still present.

With little movement in own business indicators, CEOs are in ‘wait and see’ mode. Slight shifts are evident in a softening of hiring intentions and an uptick in investment plans.

As they wait for the economy to stabilise, SME leaders have taken a considered approach and are investing in operations and upskilling rather than setting high

business growth targets. Business leaders are also capitalising on the positive factors of current economic and market conditions, such as reduced lease and rent prices, to streamline operational costs and seek out greater margins in a period of softer sales growth.

The Index is a resource for business leaders across Australia and New Zealand, including our 1,200 plus members, to inform decision making in this critical planning period. The Executive Connection Chief Economic Advisor, Warren Hogan, provides robust insights and strategic analysis of CEO sentiment, alongside economic and business trends, to ensure SME and mid-market leaders have a true economic indicator of the current business environment.

Mid-market leaders’ pragmatic responsiveness, savviness for business nuance and eagerness to seek external inspiration from experts will ensure their businesses’ resilience and preparedness for any economic movement in the year ahead.

As leaders, we can learn a lot from our counterparts in various industries. Now is not the time to shy away from peer to peer support but rather tap into all the resources available.

With elements affecting the economy that previously didn’t need to be accounted for, we are in somewhat uncertain times when it comes to predicting what is around the corner. SME leaders should be conservative enough in their business plans to remain agile if conditions do drastically change. Yet they should remain operational on all fronts to take advantage of predictions of an economic pick-up should it come into fruition.