Dear Aunty B,
It’s been a slow start to the year. Sales slowed towards Christmas and I have just revised my profit and loss, which is not looking pretty.
But I was in the same position this time last year, and things came good. My general manager is urging me to slow down and put a few things on hold.
What do you think? Should I go ahead with my expansion plans this year?
It’s nice living under a rock. The answer is no. The proof? Go and visit your local insolvency specialist.
You may find they are too busy for a cup of coffee because they are gearing up for a frenzy of new business after 15 years of doom and gloom.
The business environment of 2008 is completely different to 2007 and therefore if things are a little slow, it could well be a sign of things to come. This is not a time to shelve expansion plans. It is the time to revisit your expansion plans in line with the changing economic environment.
For starters, do you need money for your expansion plans? If you do, can you afford it? Will the demand be there? Should you be changing your marketing message? How do you secure your best people as the skills shortage gets worse? What costs can you cut? How can you aggressively market?
Too many businesses are living in la la land. They can see the signs of an economic downturn directly on their business but they are doing nothing about it. Fifteen years of the good times have dulled the senses of the sensible. Meanwhile young entrepreneurs like Eddy Groves were delivering milk in the last recession in the early 1990s and have no experience of slow downs, slow ups or stuff ups.
Now your sweet Aunt is as optimistic as the best entrepreneurs out there. But there is a big difference between being optimistic and living under a rock.
This is a time to make very informed decisions and take informed risks. It is a time to see the world as it is, not how you want it to be. It is the time to listen carefully to your general manager, stay informed of the changes taking place by avidly reading the business media, and networking and seeing opportunities in a new light.
Now, go forth and expand.
Your Aunty B