Daily we hear about the uncertainty related to the NAFTA negotiations; news agencies are reporting their view of the latest updates and industry groups continue to offer their best advice to their members. But at the end of the day, the negotiations are happening behind closed doors, so it’s hard to know how the final outcomes are going to affect your business.
Round 3 of the negotiations wrapped up in Ottawa this week, and while some remain optimistic about this round, Canada’s ambassador says “the talks have been “heated” at times and that while progress is being made, there is plenty of hard work ahead.” With the US failing to deliver their demands for the next round of NAFTA talks, the uncertainty of an agreement any time soon remains.
We should feel confident that the government will do what they feel is best for all Canadians, and industry groups will do what is best for their members, but that doesn’t mean you should be sitting idle waiting for others to determine your organization’s future.
Perhaps at a high level you have the same type of offering as your industry members, but you know that your organization is unlike any other. Maybe it’s your culture, customer service, brand, or vision, or something completely unique. No one knows your organization inside and out better than you and your team. So while you are waiting to see what a new NAFTA looks like, it’s a great time to see how your organization’s uniqueness can flourish despite whatever outcomes come from the new NAFTA.
Here are a few things you can do to prepare your organization:
- Look for new opportunities and explore what ones are right for you. Is the new Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union the best opportunity? Are there other markets you can explore? Is there a different offering that you should be developing?
- Gather the information from your team. Your team has a wealth of internal knowledge that should be leveraged to help you make your best decisions.
- Understand stakeholder points of view. As Export Development Canada (EDC) reports, “The new currency in this uncertain era will be intelligence and communication.” They advise organizations to ‘Develop strategies and contingency plans together for how to deal with what the future may have in store.’
- Get a fresh perspective on your organization and how it will be affected by NAFTA changes. Any challenge can be solved if seen from the right perspective.
- Prepare for risks. According to the EDC “Many (Canadian organizations) are adopting the Boy Scout motto of “be prepared” for just about anything. Some (organizations) are starting to view our largest trading partner as an increasingly risky market for Canadian companies.”
While the NAFTA negotiations are presenting Canadian business with uncharted waters, it is important for organizations to remain optimistic about new possibilities. One of the final pieces of advice EDC is offering is to remember that business will continue, however, “Successful companies will be defined by how quickly they can adapt to change”. The first step to adapting your business is to build a plan that identifies how your business can thrive in this new business climate.
VistaShift has developed the first software tool to help Canadian companies prepare by uncovering the greatest risks affecting them and defining new opportunities and responses. This online tool is easy to use, requires 1 hour per team member and results are delivered in one week.