Categorized | Business



By Tom Irmen

When I was a youth, “double-dip” referred to an ice cream cone with two scoops of ice cream. Today, “double-dip” has an altogether different meaning.

With the unexpected slowing of our short-term economic recovery, increasingly economists and media pundits are warning us of an impending second recession, a so-called “double-dip.” By definition, a “double-dip” recession is characterized when gross domestic product (GDP) slides back to negative territory after a quarter or two of positive growth. A recession, followed by a short-lived recovery, followed by another recession.

I prefer the ice cream analogy.

So, do I think we’ll experience a “double-dip” recession? I don’t have a clue. In fact, I doubt if the pros do either.

Do I think we can talk ourselves into a recession? With today’s 24/7 news stream, we are inundated with negative economic reports, which impact our emotions, which can drive our decision making.

In looking back just two or three years ago, many of us, barraged with negative economic news, modified our business behavior as a normal defensive measure. Then the bottom fell out of the economy. In just a few months’ time, many commercial and retail banks, investment banks, insurance companies and auto makers were at the verge of failure.

I don’t know if we caused the recession, expedited it, or caused it to deepen. I do know that with only two or three years separating our actions then with whatever new actions we might be inclined to make today, we should have learned some valuable lessons.

Like many of you, there are some decisions I would likely repeat and others I regret, that I hope I will not repeat. But more importantly are the decisions of our competitors. Perhaps now is a good time to take an inventory of those decisions, good and bad, made by the competition that provided them with a marketplace advantage or disadvantage. By eliminating our previously poor decisions and by refining our future choices based on the past responses by our competitors to the last recession, we just might be in a position to gain a significant marketplace advantage over those who may be inclined to repeat their past mistakes.

You can’t control future economic conditions, but you can control how you respond to them. Panic and you will lose. Why not enjoy a “double-dip,” ice cream that is, and let’s prepare to prosper during this period of economic uncertainty that will likely be with us for years to come.

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