It’s hard not be jittery these days: Gasoline is creeping toward $4 a gallon, the dollar has lost all its historic vigor overseas, there’s a mortgage crisis, a credit crunch, the government had to bail out a storied brokerage firm on Wall Street to keep it from collapsing and your economic stimulus check is in the mail. We’re at the mercy of some awesome global forces here. It hardly seems fair: We work as hard as ever – but a Japanese investor gets panicky while we sleep and our gas prices jump a nickel before breakfast the next morning.
The signs are all there. Parse it any way you like, call it anything you like, but consider yourself warned: The U.S. economy will experience a downturn in 2008 and your business will be affected.
The question now is: What are you going to do about it? It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of such overwhelming global trends. But “riding the storm out” isn’t much of a strategy. Now is the time to take proactive steps to protect your business in the months ahead.
TV, talk radio and the Internet are swamped with recession survival advice. A lot of it is common sense. Talk to your customers and gauge their mood before things turn bad. Be frugal. Curb your spending and invest in maintenance and repair to make your tools and equipment last longer. If you’re one of those guys who’d rather spend time in the field than behind a desk, bite the bullet and get your books in order. Sloppy bookkeeping is a drag on a business even in good economic times. It can be fatal during a downturn. If you do nothing else, simply log onto Google and type in “surviving a recession.” That action alone will give you 211,000 pages of advice to consider.
At the end of the day, no one knows your business better than you. You have to decide the best course of action to protect your assets in what is shaping up to be a challenging year. Some landscapers will not be able to cope with the economic climate in the coming months and will fade away. Other companies will emerge bigger, better and stronger than ever. Your company can be one of the strong survivors. But you’ve got to act now.