Adjusting for Success in Saskatoon

BY KARI OLFERT, THINKSASKATOON
PHOTOGRAPH BY DREW WALDNER

Saskatoon is a small community and an idea can travel twice around this town in a matter of hours, this leaves us vulnerable to the chicken little syndrome. We should address the recent shut down of retailer businesses in Saskatoon. It’s natural to feel a sense of nervousness as we hear the loss of jobs in Saskatoon but I think it is equally important to do a job search and see that there are a lot of opportunities out there for the taking. As we watch our economy shift I think it is important to keep some things in mind:

  • We live in a global economy.
  • Money is always exchanging hands.
  • Trends are important to watch.
  • There will always be a need for necessities.
  • Customer service can make or break a business.
  • Those who adjust, thrive; those who don’t, have difficulty.

If you are like me, you are watching other Canadian cities, our big brother the United States and the global outlook; a few things jump out:

  • The global economy is shaky but it always has been, depends where you are looking.
  • Europe is having some serious currency issues.
  • The US collapsed big time in 2008 but they ARE coming back.
  • There is strong finger-pointing at Obama and Harper, unrelated of course.
  • Some people get super rich when an economy shifts.
  • Nothing stays the same.
  • There is a global ripple effect that you can see if you watch for it.

We are told that retail locations closing is bad because it means jobs are lost and our economy is in trouble, this scares us. What it also shows us is lack of demand for that product, poor customer service or prices that are too high. It feels scary, but is that because we’re told how bad this is for our economy? Now that we all feel bad, what can we do to adjust for success in Saskatoon?

The key to doing well in ANY economy is providing services and products for needs, scooping up investments others are ditching and getting ahead of trends.

Needs 

Abraham Maslow made this little thing called the Hierarchy of Needs; Psychological, Safety, Love and belonging, Self esteem and Self actualization. Is the service or product you are offering, covering our needs? There will be demand for this in ANY economy, assuming that you combine knowledgeable and amazing customer service with that. Think food, shelter, healthcare and anything related to those industries, as well as trades and education.

Investments 

Our market is currently saturated with housing options. If you have some extra cash, consider investing where other people are running away. Can you think of anything else in our economy where people are worried and leaving the scene, consider getting into that now and holding, because as we know the market swings up, swings down and then back up and sometimes there are pauses that only the smart investors know how to wait through. Get in when others are getting out.

Trends 

Do you see anything that you think now is the time to get in front of this. Trends are usually more easily spotted in a global market or in cities larger than yours. Toronto can teach us Saskatonians a lot. The key here is to keep a local perspective, there is nothing worse than being too far ahead in a trend and then waiting for 5 years or applying a trend to a market that will never be ready for something like that. You can usually gauge this somewhat by looking at a cultures values. We have very different cultural values from lets say Winnipeg or Calgary. We move and spend more purposely. We know everyone through someone else. We drink beer. We trust your word. I have lived in Winnipeg and Calgary and I can tell you that they do not have these same values and will be a little suspicious of you if you trust them completely or help them without obligation. That’s mostly because Saskatoon people are amazing and that my friend is no trend.

Do you have any ideas or motivational speak for adjusting for success in Saskatoon? Let’s do this, together we are even more amazing.

  • Dan Gold

    It is important to acknowledge that we (as a community) are each brand ambassadors for Saskatoon. When I talk to clients and colleagues across the world, they always ask with interest about Saskatoon. We are a local community in a global economy and we need to ensure that the awareness of our city is greater today than it was yesterday.

    Our decision to relocate to Saskatoon was because of the great work by the tourism office, but much more needs to be done by council to improve international awareness for business development. This is a city where there is a real balance between family life and work. This makes for an increase in productivity and therefore higher commercial output.

    Dan
    @dangoldmedia | martincharlton.ca

    • Thank you for the insight Dan and I couldn’t agree more. Our sense of community and focus on family values are what makes Saskatoon a very desirable city. Moving forward we would be smart to focus on Business development if we want to grow our economy.