Questions we might invite our local businesses and proprietorships to consider
1) How dependent is your overall industry on oil, power, low-cost transportation and shipping — can your industry survive as we leave the era of cheap oil?
2) If your industry will survive, it will undoubtedly be radically altered. How?
3) If your industry cannot survive the end of cheap oil, what industry might you shift into, which is better able to survive? Would you need to retrain?
4) Since “globalization” as we know it today won’t survive the end of cheap oil, how will this change things for your business’ supply lines?
5) What raw materials might be available here locally that you could shift to using in your business? Who do you know here in our local geography who might be able to become suppliers for your business? (Do they know about peak oil?)
6) If you knew today that over the next decade the move would be toward much greater localization, how might this affect your business’ investment decisions?
7) How dependent is your business on the current structure of national and international financial markets (stock market, mortgage banking, insurance, etc.)? How dependent are you upon government funding? grant funding? Is it possible for you to shift to a more local framework? Does a local framework exist, or conceivably, could it be created?
8) As we phase back from five-planets-worth-of-consumption to something better aligned with one-planet-worth-of-consumption, how will this alter: your business model? your volume & turnover expectations?
9) If you knew today that the overall economy would be in the process of contracting or shrinking rather than growing — say for the next five, ten or more years — how might you approach: taking on debt? lease commitments? franchise contracts? extending credit?
10) As our ability to transport ourselves and our goods around the planet becomes much more restricted, how might your ideas change about: business travel? trainings, conferences, conventions? hiring local residents? living close to the site of your business?
11) If there were a local currency in our area, or markers for a barter network, might your business consider accepting them for some transactions? Might you consider accepting these markers for a certain percentage of a purchase? Might you consider using local barter to handle some of your business needs?
12) Consider the type of goods or services your business offers: Are they luxury items? or do they fulfill basic needs, which people will still need even through leaner economic times?
13) As you look around our local geography, what basic needs might go unfilled? What isn’t being handled by within the local neighborhood? Might your business be able to step in to handle it?