The Future Of Your Business And Wealth Is In Danger In Times Of Recession, Depression, Deflation, Inflation and Hyperinflation
Hindsight is a great luxury which we don’t have for our current and future decisions but we can look back on the past with more clarity.
The great prosperity the developed world has seen in the last thirty years has been built on debt and unfinanced promises of generous future welfare payments.
Spending by consumers, businesses and governments was financed from borrowing against future income at an increasing but unsustainable rate. The crash in 2008 was inevitable and the monetary and fiscal stimulus seen since then and considered necessary to keep the wheels turning, is storing up more problems in the future.
You can’t get out of a debt crisis by borrowing more and printing so much “funny money” that it debases the major currencies of the world.
Business Owners Don’t Have To Be Victims Of The Economy
The big idea I took from the small business book “The E Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber was that business owners have a unique opportunity to design their businesses to play a vital role in creating their ideal lives.
This required to things:
- Deciding what you really wanted to happen in your life a concept Gerber called your Primary Aim.
- Determining the role of the business, its Strategic Objectives i.e. the deal you strike with your business for how it will help you to achieve your primary aim.
In my free report, The Six Steps Profit Formula I presented an approach to building and managing a business that encourages business owners to be both strategic and tactical. This is because I saw too many experts focusing on the tactics and ignoring the strategy while strategy training was often too esoteric.
Those six steps are:
- Find a starving crowd of customers who want or need what you sell and have the ability to pay a fair price that gives you a good profit.
- Create a great offer with what I called an irresistible promise that represented a deep commitment to deliver the benefits.
- Get the offer in front of as many eyes and ears of your market as often as possible.
- Deliver a great buying experience.
- Sell the next course and the next meal to your starving crowd.
- Encourage them to tell their family, friends and colleagues about your business, your offers and their great experience.
In this series of blog articles I dig much deeper into the first issue, the starving crowd and how what is happening in the wider local, national and global economies will impact on what the customers in your targeted starving crowd want and their ability to pay.
The Wider Economic Environment Is Much Too Important To Ignore
Before the recession of 2008/9 we’d had so many good years since the recession of the early 1990s that it was easy to assume that the world would always be richer and want more tomorrow than yesterday.
The difficult years that followed showed that we must pay more attention to the wider economic environment.
In 2013 we are told that things are finally getting better after massive stimulus and bailout packages by the governments and central banks around the world.
Unfortunately I fear that these actions have papered over the cracks and have created a weak, false recovery.
I’m frightened that things are going to get worse.
The truth is that this “recovery” hasn’t seen an improvement in the real incomes of the vast majority of the populations of the UK, Europe and the USA and the financial windfall from the artificially suppressed interest rates has been swallowed up.
The real dip will happen when interest rates rise.
They have to rise because of the damage they are doing to our future by encouraging more debt, destroying any incentive to save for the future and causing investment decisions to be skewed dangerously towards risky assets.
I don’t want to be seen as one of those people who always shout doom and gloom messages. I hope I’m wrong.
You may not agree with me and that’s OK.
My primary purpose in writing these articles is to help you to make the right decisions for your business and your life.
I believe we are in a time of great uncertainty that undermines economic confidence and makes it difficult to see how we can have another ten years of increasing prosperity. In contrast I expect ten years or more of depression and stagflation (stagnation combined with inflation) with the occasion blip of prosperity.
The main themes that are nagging away at my mind are:
- The crazy Euro project
- The huge accumulation of debts by governments, companies and individuals and the exposure to changes in the interest rates.
- The papered over cracks in our banking systems.
- The artificial monetary stimulus with quantitative easing and near to zero interest rates.
- The distorted economic measures and statistics
- The creation of house price, stock market, bond market and commodity bubbles.
- Immoral banking and financial services that bleed customers of fair returns
- Rising inequalities of income and wealth across the population in countries.
- The ageing population and the problems that causes for pensions and health services.
- Environmental issues that mean constant growth in a world of limited resources has to become impossible at some stage.
- The increasing threat of terrorism, violent civil unrest, civil war or war across the world.
- The changes happening in the Far East with the extraordinary growth of China and the decline of Japan.
- The broken political systems in major countries that mean problems are never properly solved.
- The increasing levels of globalisation and the transfer of wealth from the developed countries to the developing countries. This is good for many but bad for those of us who are used to having more than our fair share as members of rich countries.
- The risk of disease epidemics that are resistant to modern medicines
How To Make Decisions Under Uncertainty
In times of uncertainly, Hugh Courtney, Jane Kirkland and Patrick Viguerie of McKinsey recommend three alternative types of strategies:
- No regrets – these are good things to do, whatever happens.
- Moves to keep options open – these recognise alternative futures and keep you in the game.
- Big bets – if you are confident that something is going happen, you can gain a big advantage by acting early and seizing the initiative.
As I write about these uncertainties, my focus is both on your business and your other assets.
I believe that your business is an important asset but I get frightened when I talk to business owners who say that their business is their only pension scheme.
Diversify To Spread Your Risks
The first rule of effective financial management is diversification. To recognise the big risks outside of your control that exist and to take the actions necessary to give yourself protection if the worst happens.
Reducing risk usually means reducing returns as well which is obviously bad news in our 21st century world that places such a high value on nearly instant gratification.
Psychologists have shown that most people are consistently risk adverse. The pain of loss is much greater than the pleasure of gain. Ignoring risks that you recognise ahead of a bad event will create great heartache and feelings of “if only…” Unfortunately we don’t have the chance to act on the wisdom of hindsight.
If you believe 100% that what you’re told by politicians and the media is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and if you also believe that politicians and central bankers know what they are doing and will do everything necessary to stop problems spinning out of control, then you should stop reading.
This report isn’t for you.
You trust that other people will look after you and I hope they do.
If, on the other hand, you believe that you must be responsible for your own well-being and you don’t believe you’re hearing the whole truth about the situation and/or you don’t trust the politicians and bankers to do what’s right for your country and for you, then read this report several times.
Think about the ideas carefully and how they affect the decisions you make and the actions you take in both your business and personal life.
Think through the three levels of possible action – no regrets, options and big bets.
Make your own decisions and be prepared to live with the consequences.
I don’t know what will happen in the future. I don’t have a crystal ball. I’m not an infallible fortune teller. I have never won the big prize on the lottery, let alone every week.
I have suspicions of what might happen but it’s complicated by the unpredictable decisions made by politicians, central bankers and other quasi-government officials.
I’m focusing on no regrets and options in my life. I don’t have the confidence to make any big bets.
I readily admit that much of what I write is depressing. That’s inevitably the case when we look at risks and uncertainties because, by definition, it’s the things that can go wrong and in particular those that can do the most damage.
The human race resists change when it can, especially when change is imposed on us rather than created by us.
The Good News – Change Creates Opportunities
Much of my message has been gloomy.
However change creates opportunities.
Charles Darwin, the scientist who developed the theory of evolution wrote:
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
My aim is to help you to be adaptable. To recognise possible futures and to adapt successfully to whichever turns into reality.
Are you ready to learn more?
Get To Know Me
[sos]Don't forget to download and read my FREE Report - The SIX Steps PROFIT Formula: The Simple Rules That Every Small Business Owner Needs To Know available to download at Six Steps Report (Please click).