It’s not just useful for making interesting small-talk.
It may not all be interesting to you personally – the closure of a local Post Office, FATCA, UK elections, the prom restoration – but whether you like it or not, all of these issues have a significant impact on the environment around you and therefore your business. Particularly in small jurisdictions such as ours, news items that may seem insignificant actually mean a great deal to a lot of people and they affect virtually everyone.
Take for example the Manx Budget. This is announced once a year and has the potential to affect nearly every sector. Announcements such as an increased tax cap for wealthy individuals or an increase in land tax would have a significant effect on many local businesses not limited to the finance sector. Measures such as means tested child benefit or increases in the personal income tax allowance will most likely affect your clients or at least your clients’ customers, so think about how you can use this information to engage with them and understand them better.
On an ongoing basis, issues such as the recently publicised data protection issue with the IOM Government where many private email addresses of local residents were accidentally released to the public. See http://www.manxradio.com/news/isle-of-man-news/government-data-breach-reveals-hundreds-of-personal-emails/ . These issues will resonate with local technology providers as well as other businesses who might want to re-think their data protection policies to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to them. It also evokes a raft of legal issues on just what the local laws are about data protection.
Bottom line: keeping abreast of the current issues makes you a more proactive, more involved player in the business community and with that comes a responsible and informed reputation for your brand and a better understanding of your customers.