It’s that time again – that time of year when everything feels like it is changing. It typically happens every other year, and always happens every four years. It is election time, and everyone holds their breath about what’s going to happen on election day. The funny thing is that no matter who wins any election, within 24-48 hours after the election is over, the business world goes right back to where it was two weeks before the election.
My advice – ignore the election cycles in your business. Unless you are a multi-national conglomerate, the election results will have little to no impact on your ability to grow your business. Ignore it and move on.
So what about the other cycle that impacts business? This one is FAR more important to pay attention to – the economic cycle. Do you know which season your industry is entering, and what to focus on during this time?
There are four seasons to the economy: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. They do not happen at regular intervals, but the world economy is generally on a 10 year cycle, give or take a couple of years depending on what’s going on in the world. The recent pandemic messed with the timing a little by creating an unexpected and sudden economic winter, which lasted 18 months for some industries and 4-5 weeks for others.
If you look at the longer-term cycles, we’re in the Fall right now and Winter is coming. The good news is that with the right actions and decisions, you can grow and thrive in ANY season. To help you recognize the seasonal cycle, here is a quick summary of each.
The most likely economic season we are in right now. Fall is when you harvest the gains from the fantastic summer you had. We lock in our profits and hold some back to get us through the coming winter. We shore up relationships with our suppliers, our customers, our strategic partners. We look ahead to what winter might look like and plan for the seasonal changes in our industry. We might change the products and services that we highlight in our marketing, but we do not stop marketing. We manage our expenses, but keep investing in ourselves and our team. We don’t spend much capital on new equipment and expanded capacity now, instead we focus on maximizing and optimizing our current capacity.
It is coming. It always shows up in the 10 year cycle, yet we don’t know how long it will last. Winter is when you perform maintenance on your business, tuning up your culture, your people and processes as well as any equipment you have. This is when we look for long term opportunities – to capitalize on your competition who may not be as well prepared, to pivot to new products and services that might be needed more in winter than other times. Every winter generates new needs and wants among consumers. Pay attention to them and you will enter the spring miles ahead of your competitors.
This is when all of the planning and preparations start to pay off, as you are prepared for the early planting season and many of your competitors are not. Your “saw is sharp” from your winter focus on training and operational improvements, from the time you spent anticipating what the new markets will look like in the spring. Every spring is a little different, and the work you do on yourself and your team will prepare you to relaunch in the spring.
This is when all of the seeds you prepared for and planted in the winter and spring turn into massive growth and, when done right, massive profitability. Employees get harder to find as the economy is booming, yet you don’t have difficulty finding new team members because you spent the winter and spring sprucing up your culture, so that you attract quality team members and don’t need to work so hard to find them – they find you!
If you’d like to learn more about where your business/industry is, go to our website to request a strategy session with one of our coaches. We will help you understand where you are and to identify 2-3 strategies you should be implementing right now to successfully navigate the next season in your business.
Author: Mark McNulty, Business Coach in Louisville, KY