For the past several months, distributors and manufacturers have been blaming slow growth on uncertainty – and more than a few pointed to the election as the turning point for their planning process. The election is now over; are you ready to get back to business?
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In a recent column for Fortune magazine, Dan Primack said "uncertainty" has become "the excuse emblem of corporate America." Even if sales are up and cash flow is positive, CEOs have been holding back because they just don't know what's going to come down the pike in six months, 12 months or more.
And now that the election is over, guess what? We still don't have complete clarity – and we never will. That's simply the nature of business, Primack argues.
"If CEOs cite 'uncertainty' over the fiscal cliff as their reason for not moving forward, then they might as well close up shop," Primack writes. "Because after the fiscal cliff will be some other macroeconomic crisis, and then another and then another election."
Uncertainty should always be a part of your planning process, and it should never be a reason to stop working. There are ways to make sure you're prepared no matter what comes your way.
As Brent Grover says in The Little Black Book of Strategic Planning for Distributors, create three versions of your short-term business plan: a best case, a base case and a worst case. That way you can adapt regardless of the uncertainty.
And be brave enough to invest in your business even when business is slow, as ITR Economics' Alan Beaulieu told attendees of last month's Power Transmission Distributors Association Annual Summit in Dallas. Take advantage of low interest rates to invest and prepare your business for better times.
Regardless of what might be around the corner, it's time to stop standing still and start moving forward again.