As the rooster crows and wakes up the farm, the farmer prepares. Depending the time of year and what the season is, the farmer and the farm have different activities they have to do to ensure the farm remains viable. When they plant, when they reap, when they sell and when they buy raw materials are all driven by the seasons. Farms are a business like any other and we can learn a lot about the economic cycles and business seasons if we apply similar strategies, businesses can make adjustments over time. In today’s economic environment the changes have happened overnight and has left businesses unprepared or ill-equipped for the new economic season which is upon them.
“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence. Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance. Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence. Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.” ― Yoko Ono
The seasons bring different challenges and different opportunities. There is prosperity of Summer, with a gradual declines as Fall approaches. The bleakness of Winter turns into a renewal of life in Spring. If businesses don’t understand the demands or the activities they should do to prepare they are often left behind.
To begin to prepare, you must understand the principals of the traditional Economic Cycles and the activities. Brad Sugars, the CEO & Founder of ActionCOACH defines the Economic Seasons in practical terms. First, there is the Economic Summer. In an Economic Summer, businesses experience great growth and prosperity. Before the COVID 19 crisis businesses were in a booming in an extended economic summer. Record profits, unrestricted growth, stock market records and raising incomes are all elements of an Economic Summer. Using the Farm example, in ‘summer’ farmers take advantage of the growth and they reap the benefits of the growth. Prior to fall, they prepare to harvest profits and stock up on supplies and increase their cash on hand due to the sale of their crops. This harvesting and stock piling of resources and cash prepares them to face an Economic Fall and Winter which cyclically, naturally and historically follow any economic period of unfettered growth.
Historically, every economic period of growth is followed by an Economic Fall. In the Fall, Farmers prepare for winter. They cut back, sell of live stock and ensure their stores are filled to help them survive a bitter winter. In an Economic Fall period there are sharp declines in stock market gains and increasing unemployment. While signs of an Economic Falls can happen over time, it is clear that the current crisis has placed the world into a sharp free fall suddenly.There is no debating whether this crisis will have sweeping economic to so save money, reduce expenses and consider new ways of working to make it through the Economic Winter that will follow.
All the plans and projections of economic prosperity and growth estimates for 2020 were swept away as the pandemic moved across the world and literally shut the world’s economy down. This Economic Fall has been rapid. Unlike the most recent Economic Fall which began in 2008, that lingered for several years and lead to a prolonged Economic Winter, this Crisis cycle is likely to have a shorter duration but with more lasting change and more dramatic impact as the world faces the aftermath, the Economic Winter is coming.
At the Farm, Winter is a time to plan and of hunkering down to survive the tough conditions. Often machinery is updated or fixed, plans for crops planting are made so that the farm can be ready to act when Spring sprouts through the snow. In an Economic Winter, while survival mode may be the main focus, consider that this Winter will serve up some massive opportunities. Since stock values are lower and some have cash to spend, in an Economic Winter you may see a company takeovers and opportunities for investments. Keep your eyes open for these opportunities because it could lead you into a completely new business all together as economic signs of spring begin to show an upturn.
The Economic Spring will happen. Big opportunities are on the horizon. Are their competitors you can buy out? How can you expand new parts of your business to meet new demands? How are you planning to serve the customer that become available as businesses around you fail? How will you pivot and adjust? How will you prepare to SPRING into action and be stronger?
If you get stuck in panic mode and in “the sky is falling” philosophy, you will not be in a position to reap the opportunities that will naturally emerge as we cycle through this severe economic season. And if you continue to learn and add to your skills and knowledge you will survive and be better prepared to thrive.
To learn more about ActionCOACH and Brad Sugars, visist www.actioncoach.com.