Breakfast with Charlie

“Maine is stuck!”  You can imagine how that statement resonated with me, having started Broadreach six years ago, at the worst possible time in the economy, and to hear that it’s not going to get any better.  Yikes.

At the recent annual Breakfast with Charlie: The 2013 Maine Economic Forecast, hosted by USM Corporate Partners, the message was not bright.  In fact Charlie [Colgan], who is one of Maine’s leading economists, confirmed that there is “a lot of noise, leading nowhere.”

Why is Maine stuck?  Charlie said that Maine’s economy is beholden to the national economy – and that we simply do not have the independence and self sufficiency to get out of our way.  Yes, he states that professional and business services are doing well, along with education and health, but that most other areas are flat.  In fact overall, only 10% of the jobs lost have been recovered.

Charlie’s talk reminded me of an economic truth: If production is up, the economy should be up as well.  However, that is not happening either.  This is coined “the productivity paradox.”  It seems Maine is just one shove away from its own fiscal cliff.

And, where is inflation in all of this–still taking up its role as the hammer in which to bang down the economy.  Why is it, anyway, that the conversation always moves to inflation?  What a scare tactic.  Enough already.

What does all of this mean for a small, growing business like Broadreach?  We need to work smarter. We need to keep employee costs down, revenue per employee stable – and, I’m sorry to say, hire only to meet necessary demand.  We will be looking to pursue more freelance and, most importantly, to demonstrate the value of our service to clients, everyday.