2020 is not the end of the world

Photo: Jill Odom/Total Landscape Care
Photo: Jill Odom/Total Landscape Care
Photo: Jill Odom/Total Landscape CarePhoto: Jill Odom/Total Landscape Care

Coronavirus, the economy and the election are all making 2020 seem like quite the wild card, with a lot of questions in the air as to how it will affect you and your business.

Landscape industry consultant Jeffrey Scott tells landscapers in his Growth Tips newsletter not to panic, as the sky is not falling.

Even though the media cycle can make almost any situation sound like a doomsday event, keeping a level head and knowing how to separate the facts from the hysteria will help you weather the storms and save yourself from unnecessary stress.

Let’s break down these three concerns and what the facts are. The majority of these issues are well out of your control, but you can focus on where you can take action.

Coronavirus

Scott acknowledges that this virus is a serious global concern, but he believes the economic impact will be temporary.

“My intel says that the economy is doing fine on a macro level, despite the economic bumps this will cause,” Scott says in his newsletter.

Scott encourages you to talk to your suppliers to find out if their supply chains are being disrupted and what this means for you.

COVID-19 has spread to at least 64 countries and has resulted in over 3,000 deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) latest situation report.

The signs and symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, coughing and shortness of breath. If you are experiencing these symptoms and have recently been in contact with an infected person or have recently traveled from an area dealing with the ongoing spread of COVID-19, stay home except to receive medical care. Before visiting your doctor, call ahead to let them know so they may properly prepare.

Currently, there is no vaccine to cure COVID-19. While work is underway to develop one, there is not one at the moment, nor are there any approved medications to treat it according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC says the immediate health risk from COVID-19 for the general American public is currently low.

The ways to prevent the spread of this virus are pretty straight forward. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth when sick and stay home when you are sick.

Ben Bowen with Ross NW Watergardens, based in Portland, Oregon, adds that it doesn’t hurt to create a blog post sharing with the community how your company is protecting its employees and clients. You can view his company’s blog post here.

The economy

As for the economy, there have been concerns over both coronavirus and the election affecting it, but Scott says the economy has yet to soften like it typically does during an election year.

He says it may still happen, but it might not.

At the end of last year, there was talk of a recession being just around the corner. While unemployment and inflation are expected to stay low, the U.S. GDP growth rate will slow.

The Federal Open Market Committee had an emergency meeting on March 3 in response to COVID-19 and lowered fed fund rates to a range of between 1.0 percent to 1.25 percent in an attempt to minimize its effect on economic activity.

Because there are so many factors that are out of your control when it comes to the well-being of the economy, Scott says it’s best to keep your eye on long-term growth and to develop a war chest for situations like this and for acquisitions.

“The expansion of your business is still a valid initiative unless you are retiring in the next 12 months,” he says.

Take the time to optimize your profitability. Scott says most companies leave 10 points of profit of the table so now is the perfect time to increase returns on your business.

The election

Depending on your political affiliations, the outcome of this election may be more worrisome than in the past.

Honestly, the best thing you can do in this situation is to thoroughly educate yourself about the candidates if you haven’t already decided who you’re voting for. Even if you know who you want to vote for, make sure you know what they stand for. It doesn’t hurt to do your homework.

Does the candidate agree with your personal values? Do they support legislation that can help your business, such as allowing returning H-2B workers to not count toward the visa cap?

Whichever candidate you end up picking, make sure your voice is heard in the end by voting. And if they don’t win, it isn’t the end of the world.

“Regardless of who is elected President, Republican or Democrat, we will do fine,” Scott says. “(Even if it’s Bernie, I believe moderate forces on both sides will keep him in check, but I don’t think it will be him.)”

Scott’s last tip is to have fun.

“Business and life should be fun, don’t panic,” he says.

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