Two-Speed Shuffle

Two speeds BP 25 11 10_

                                                How do YOU feel today?


Research released last week^ suggests our economy has stalled.

Other commentators say it’s running at two speeds.

My client portfolio is definitely doing the latter: half have gone from sluggish to flat out like two lizards drinking.

How about yours?



Mining’s up. Retail’s down. Employment is mixed and shares are all over the joint.

For some reason, many of my clients are leaping like the locusts that hit Melbourne last fortnight.

I’m frantically busy with job ads, blog posts, a BIG website, a media release, a book blurb and even [GASP!] a printed magazine advertisement constructed from paper*.

I worked all last weekend and the one before. In my pipeline are newsletters, product sheets, LinkedIn profiles and two more websites.

Last week I had my first face-to-face prospect meeting for months. I got the gig and went home with a bucket of work.

While I’m rapt to be one of the minority businesses enjoying strong growth, I don’t know why I’m succeeding.



The top is slow. The bottom’s OK. And interest rate rises seem to be ‘crimping optimism’.

I’ve wanted to write honest real estate ads for many years. But my various overtures have come to naught.

Last week I was referred to a realtor seeking a writer and photographer. I may be able to do both jobs.

So why all this sudden movement at the station?



My Twitter friends are talking less about pets, kids, partners and gadgets and more about their latest prospect, article, client, meeting or project.

Some are so busy, they’re hardly tweeting at all.

I’m not seeing the same optimism in traditional communication channels.

Could it be the recovery is manifesting earlier with socially mediated business people?

According to the research, companies with a website are doing and feeling better than those without.

Could social media be inoculating and supercharging firms who embrace it?



With such unusual and fragmented signals, I’m naturally keen to make sense of it all and discern the bigger picture.

So what’s happening in your neck of the woods?

Are you:

  • Ploughing or sowing?
  • Reaping or growing?
  • Catching or throwing?
  • Crying or crowing?
  • Fading or glowing?

How are you?

I really wanna know.



^ MYOB Business Monitor (download PDF here).

* (archaic) a cellulose-based communication product derived from trees.


Paul Hassing, Founder & Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire


  • Malcolm Owens

    So you want to know. We had the best start to the financial year ever with a brilliant first quarter yet I hear from the industry that it’s ‘slow and tight’.

    We took the approach of aggressively getting on the front foot and investing in our brand and products to win market share away from our competitors. It worked.

    We also actively increased our distribution and while our competitors were complaining we were out there making the best of it. It worked. We went in with a positive attitude and sold the benefits and opportunities and our customers responded.

    We were the solution for them to increase their business not part of the problem. We offered short term incentives, some extended credit and additional support but we didn’t cut our prices. And we sell $20,000 ovens and $50,000 fridges.

    Now our sales and profit are up. EBIT is double what we had forecast. I put it down to attitude so are you part of the problem or the solution?

  • That is EXACTLY the calibre of report I was hoping to receive. Thank you VERY much, Malcolm!

    OK. Who’s NEXT?!


  • BTW, Malcolm; what does a $50,000 fridge have that I don’t? 😛

  • I’ve got a crappy $150 fridge with a faulty thermometer, so the beer explodes. But it’s where I keep my gold bullion reserves.

  • I got my fridge from a tip. It had a dead clown in it. It moves of its own accord when I watch TV game shows.

    On reflection, I may put it on eBay …

  • Do. But can I have my clown back first please …

  • Sure, Mate. I’ll see if I can find him.

    I’m sure he’s …


  • Malcolm Owens

    A $50,000 fridge has the works mate! Personally I would prefer a new car! The clown wasn’t dead last time I played with him so dont blame me!

  • Fascinating stuff. I suppose Walt Disney would’ve loved one of these things.

    So, if I go into Clive Peeters and offer $45,000 cash on the spot, would they knock me back?

  • Great to hear there are people out there buying $50,000 fridges –

    We talk with retailers across the country every day and the overall impression we get is that for many it’s bleak :(
    But, I do have to say many retailers do have the philosophy that just by being there people will flock and buy all of their own volition –
    Many don’t bother to ask ‘Do you want chips with that’ ~ and we all know the affect that that has to the bottom line of those that do 😉

    At this time of year, I’d like all retailers to be helpfully asking their customers:

    “Does the person who you’re present seeking for, ever go on holiday?”
    As lets face it, everyone goes on a holiday or a weekend away at some point or another, so with our Australia Map Journals at a handy arms length away it’d be BINGO for them, for us, for the customer (with Christmas shopping blues solved) AND for the recipient, who on Christmas morning will actually get something they can use and enjoy for a change – Talk about a Win:Win:Win:Win situation :)

    And if you’re doubt as to our Map Journals versatility, I’ve just written a blog post: 101 Ways to Use your Map Journal ~

    May you too have a smile on your face on Christmas morning 😉

  • I’m grateful for your take on this Linda. And I exhort readers to check out your links. Your content is always surprising and delightful, and quite unlike anything else I see on my internet perambulations.

    Most of my physical holidays are unmitigated disasters. But the problem lies with me. I’m sure ‘normal’ people will get a lot from your Map Journals. Best regards and thanks again! P. :)

  • Malcolm Owens

    Come and buy a fridge instead. You will be glad you did. No discounts from retail but I can do you a deal……..

  • Carbonite has had a stronger year than its past two and traffic and sales are looking stronger than ever before. Our pricing has stayed consistent over the past 18 months and the product is improving in terms of features etc.

    I can’t say its going gangbusters just yet, but we haven’t seen a fall at all this year. And we hardly advsertise, my social marketing activity is all we do (as well as rank very well in Google).

    Working near a shipping centre, I don’t know how some stores survive, its slow going from what I can see and the opportunity to buy from o/seas rather than locally because of the strength of the dollar is only making it harder, particularly for those selling technology.

  • Another fantastic report, Arthur; Thank you! :)

    I certainly did my bit for Carbonite this week. I just signed up for three years. As I mentioned before, your online presence was what impelled my purchase.

    Glad things are looking good for you. Best regards, P. :)

  • ‘RESERVE Bank governor Glenn Stevens has talked up the economy ahead of new figures due tomorrow expected to show economic growth has stalled.’


    Even though things are going well for me, I’m using the income to retire debt (just as this article maintains). I’m not sure how long my particular good time will last. Is anyone else saving or paying debt?

  • I think the article: “Retailers face a very unmerry Christmas” is spot on…
    But I still think retailers don’t help themselves (One example sited above!!) second rant now brewing 😉

    Why do they cut off their own noses to spite their face?

    Starting Christmas carols in the Malls in November doesn’t deck the halls with holly but gives shoppers Christmas fatigue before they can even start to get into the spirit, which turns their biggest fans OFF

    How can one day be ‘special’ if its blasted at us for 20% of the year?

    Excess of anything makes you sick – and doesn’t make you want to go looking for more…

    Less is more

  • Wow, you said it, Linda! I find myself agreeing with every word you wrote there. Thank you for telling it like you see it. :)

  • I think I just got a piece of the puzzle about my unusual busyness:

    Many thanks, Adam, for the heads up.

    THIS is the sort of drought I can handle! :)