In the news again this week is that the economy is shrinking by 0.5% triggering all the doom-mongering for businesses again.
But, as a business owner, if the economy has shrunk by 0.5% should that worry you? If your business cannot thrive in an economy that is 99.5% of what it has been then I believe there are bigger issues in your business than the economy.
So my advice is not to worry about the shrinking economy. You can’t do anything about it anyway. Sure you can complain. You can write to your MP. You can add your vote to business groups lobbying the government for tax reductions and legislation to force banks to lend to you. But those things are going to happen so slowly, if at all, that it’ll all be too late if things are that bad for you now.
So, forget about the economy, save your energy for something more productive, and start asking different questions. Like:
- Why is my business struggling so much on 99.5%?
- What can I do about it
- How can I increase my market share?
- How can I find new markets?
If you don’t know how to increase your market share or capitalise on the new economics in your industry, ask someone for help. There are lots of people out there who offer help. Your accountant for one – you’re already paying them.
Remember though, when you’re talking to your accountant, your financial condition is a symptom of the underlying health of your business. You can treat the financial symptoms but you also need to treat the underlying issues. You might say dealing with the financial symptoms alone is a bit like treating cancer with morphine. It will take away the pain but you will still have the cancer. You need something else as well.
You can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that caused the problem to exist. If you are struggling in this economy then you need to change your thinking and find someone who can help you to think differently.
I was talking to a business owner the other day whose business has shrunk much more than 0.5%. He’s in a business related to the property market which has been harder hit than that. And he’s done a great job of cutting his costs so he’s making more profit from the work he’s doing. The problem now is that he can’t cut his costs any more.
Within a few minutes of talking together, he had come up with at least two different ways to increase his market share that he hadn’t previously thought about. I won’t divulge the nature of his business or the ideas he came up with at least until he’s had a chance to put them into practice – so watch this space.
Perhaps the biggest opportunity for him lies in identifying new markets or opportunities. The property market is moving, albeit in a different direction to the one it has been moving in. That means there are new opportunities. The time to worry is when there is no movement. Where there is movement, there are opportunities but he needs to look in the opposite direction. How can his business with their skill-set offer a service to people in a declining property market? Again, within a few minutes he had come up with at least one idea he could quickly put to work.
To reiterate then: don’t worry about the shrinking economy. Look at it differently – you might find opportunities there. And if you find it hard to refocus your thinking, then get some help.