In September of 1930, at the start of the Great Depression, business people and politicians gathered in Cape Charles, Va. to perform a mock burial. Caskets containing “Old Man Business Depression,” his wife “Mrs. Pessimism” and his daughter “Miss Misfortune” were unceremoniously dumped in a watery grave in the Chesapeake Bay. Unfortunately, while temporarily lifting the spirits of the onlookers, this act did nothing to end those troubled times.
Here we are in the Great Recession. We can do all the burying we want, but none of us – including our government – has an economic crystal ball. So how can we plan 2010 effectively?
I’ve got some ideas – but remember that all consultants have their biases. I tend to be conservative and value safety and security over big risks that lead to big wins or watery graves. My guts tell me that we’ll have a very slow, somewhat rocky recovery and that in the 5 year time frame we won’t see a rebound to anywhere near our 2006 levels. Maybe by 10 years out, we will see a significant loosening of the consumer’s purse and credit availability. So I would plan very carefully, with multiple scenarios and would be predicting a 2010 much like 2009 with a 5-10% loosening of leads and sales. Because of the uncertainty, I would focus on short term planning and make monitoring and updating those plans my best weapon in such uncertainty.
I’ve just come from a meeting of 30 of our clients, who tend to be top remodelers, and while this won’t be a scientific survey it may help you in planning. They come from all over North America.
So get planning and involve your staff – the bigger the brain trust, the better. It should be an exciting ride. Next month, I’ll give you some strategic planning tips so you can start with a bang. Maybe a quiet bang, but a bang.