How To Leverage Uncertain Economic Times And Create Year-End Success

Entrepreneur, author, speaker, philanthropist, founder of Adaptively Education and Best in Class Education Center.

Turn on any news station, and you’ll hear plenty about inflation, downsizing companies and financial forecasts. Headlines take us on a winding roller coaster of uncertainty, but for those of us who run and lead businesses, we only ever have two options: fold or move forward.

There is a saying in show business that also applies well to corporations in unpredictable economic times: The show must go on.

Whether 2022’s business plan is unfolding differently than you’d hoped or you simply feel uneasy, ask yourself how you can find opportunity amid volatility. It’s with a positive attitude that you can open yourself up to strategic thinking and focus on creating a strong year’s end.

A Look At Recent History

One lesson I’ve learned in life is that the past prepares us for the future. In fact, the objective of studying history, personal or world, is to take wisdom forward for similar situations when they arise in some future time of our lives.

Take a look back to 2020—talk about uncertainty and turbulence in the market. I’m sure your company, as did mine, made swift decisions on products and services, marketing, staff and general direction. You moved forward, though you didn’t know what each week would bring,

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Guess what? You’re still standing.

Some even found silver linings during the pandemic to create new businesses and offerings. For example, I started one of my companies as a direct result of a need for virtual education solutions for today’s modern students. Video learning became mainstream quickly, and today, we’re riding a wave of education innovation thanks to ideas born in uncertain times.

Remember that we’ve had uncertain times before, even very recently, so you and your teams can weather storms. You’ve already proven that to yourselves.

What Lies Ahead

Stephen Covey, renowned author and speaker, is famously attributed with the quote, “If there’s one thing certain in business, it’s uncertainty.” I learned from his bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People about two circles: the circle of concern and the circle of influence. The circle of concern contains the “what ifs,” the unknown and the uncontrollable. The circle of influence represents that over which we have control. If we focus on the concern, it expands, and our response is reactive. However, if we set our focus on the circle of influence, our response is proactive.

What Is In Your Control

The market is what it is, and business owners and leaders must keep pressing forward to reach the other side of this period. When you focus on what you have influence and control over, you can open up opportunities despite shaky economic times.

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From my perspective, here are some ways you might be able to take advantage of the times to stay positive and on track in your business:

1. Review your services, products and customers. Decide what is core and remove what no longer fits the present market. While we all know the importance of retention, can you also find new acquisition opportunities? Converse with your customers through surveys and social media. Also, use your teams to creatively brainstorm new solutions that resonate with old and new audiences.

2. Hire new talent. It was nearly impossible to bring on fresh talent for a while; however, I’m finding that now the market is a bit more balanced for employers and prospective employees. Use the present time to build the team that will take your company into the future.

3. Keep building a solid work culture. The present is a great time to remind your employees why they want to work for you. You’re feeling economic stress, and so are they, so find small ways to make the workplace one people enjoy and feel appreciated in. One study in BioMed Research International found that workers who felt recognized experienced 22% lower stress levels, but those who did not feel their work was seen and appreciated saw their stress levels increase by more than 16%. When people feel valued and enjoy their work environments, they understand you’re all in this together.

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4. Bring the horizon closer with robust short-term goals. I’m a big visionary and love to think about the long term for my companies, but I’ve found that setting more short-term plans can be highly effective for growth when the long road is hard to see.

5. Make courageous moves, and pivot what’s not working sooner rather than later. Fail forward if you must. It might sound counterintuitive, but an innovative and creative risk might just pay off.

The world will continue to remain uncertain. The market will climb and fall, and even the sharpest economic minds might not be able to predict the future. What is certain is what is in our control. Invention is born of challenge. Developing new ways to solve old problems, acquiring fresh talent, creating great client experiences and cultivating caring company cultures will drive you toward a solid 2022 finish despite what curve balls may come.

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