Categorized | Business

The Certainty of Uncertainty

By Tom Irmen

This economic recovery has produced a wide array of emotions in all of us, both highs and lows, on almost a daily basis. Employment numbers drop one week and then unexpectedly spike the following week. The housing market shows signs of a recovery and then experiences a sharp reversal a month later. And just as we’ve come to believe that recent changes in Washington might precipitate a desire on the part of politicians to reign in our out of control deficits, we witness little fundamental change and mostly political posturing.

I recently had a fellow self-employed friend describe this phenomenon by saying that he can experience euphoria one moment, and in the next, feel like throwing himself from his upper floor balcony.

So how should small business owners react to such uncertainty? With a well thought-out and carefully implemented strategy that will take advantage of this uncertainty to create opportunities for future success.

But just how does small business set a future course for success when so much uncertainty exists? And coupled with the instability in the Middle East, which threatens our already fragile recovery, doesn’t this task appear even more challenging? Is it even possible to implement a strategic plan for the future? Absolutely!

So where do you start?

Uncertainty is the common denominator, and every business, including your competitors, is immersed in it up to their necks. But what you’re likely to find is that others, and that includes your competition, may ignore the need to plan, electing to do what’s always worked in the past or, better yet, fly by the seat of their pants rather than to deal with an uncertain future which is admittedly difficult to predict. And while uncertainty will make your planning efforts all that more difficult, any plan will certainly outperform no plan at all.

Try to predict what the future will look like. Will unemployment remain high? Will incomes remain stagnant? Will inflation and higher prices become part of our futures? If the answer to any or all of these questions is yes, then your clients will likely respond more favorably to your message if it conveys greater value for them. Added features such as greater cost effectiveness, improved efficiency, reduced waste and any number of important characteristics unique to your product or service will likely be responded to favorably by your customers, providing you with a clear competitive advantage.

It’s important to anticipate the future and then meet it head on with solutions that will demonstrate to both your existing clients and potential new customers that your business is prepared to meet the uncertainties of the future with bold, new and innovative ideas designed to help them and you to succeed. The future of tomorrow’s successful small business belongs to the entrepreneur who embraces uncertainty and develops a winning strategy for both their business and their clients. I’ve never been more certain of it.

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