As busi­ness own­ers, way too much ener­gy is spent fight­ing eco­nom­ic cycles.   Cycles can­not be con­trolled any more than the sea­sons.  Time and ener­gy is bet­ter spent, under­stand­ing and learn­ing to work with eco­nom­ic cycles. 

Think about it this way, there is a time for every­thing.  Spring is a time for plant­i­ng toma­toes.  If you ignore the sea­sons and plant toma­toes in fall, you will not be suc­cess­ful.  Set your­self up for suc­cess by going with the flow, and align­ing with the cycles.

Last week, I attend­ed an eco­nom­ic update spon­sored by Barnes and Den­nig (thank you) and had the priv­i­lege of hear­ing Alan Beaulieu of the Insti­tute for Trend Research (ITR) speak about eco­nom­ic cycles in gen­er­al and our cur­rent cycle.  Below is a blend of his rec­om­men­da­tions and my com­men­tary. I hope they help you plan for suc­cess in 2013 and beyond.

The present cycle is one of con­tin­ued eco­nom­ic expan­sion.  Mr. Beaulieu tells us to take advan­tage of this expan­sion and pre­pare for a mild reces­sion in late 2013 or 2014.  Plan for growth in 2015–2017.

In the short term, look at these action steps:

  • Add sales peo­ple and hire top peo­ple – now is the time to gain mar­ket share to take you through the com­ing reces­sion
  • Strength­en your team by invest­ing in train­ing and improv­ing your process
  • Lock in sup­pli­er costs in antic­i­pa­tion of glob­al com­mod­i­ty price pres­sure, espe­cial­ly as we approach 2015 and beyond
  • Bor­row what you need now for as long a term as pos­si­ble to lock in today’s long term rates
  • Estab­lish cred­it as need­ed, banks are lend­ing
  • Build your effi­cien­cies with invest­ments in tech­nol­o­gy and soft­ware so that you can low­er your long term costs
  • Spend mon­ey on new prod­ucts and mar­ket­ing
  • Use mar­ket research or cus­tomer advi­so­ry boards to uncov­er com­pet­i­tive advan­tages
  • Build your cash and work­ing cap­i­tal reserves
  • Pre­pare for high­er tax­es, fees and licens­es
  • Use Key Per­for­mance Indi­ca­tor track­ing to stay on course and make any need­ed course cor­rec­tions time­ly
  • Involve your team in set­ting annu­al and quar­ter­ly goals

Learn to go with the flow and you will reduce your stress, improve your prof­itabil­i­ty, and achieve the Girl Scout mot­to – Be Pre­pared!