This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve been in the marketplace during seven recessions, counting this one. The one in the middle ’70s was a mean one. The next one, in the early ’80s, was a bad one too because it was actually two recessions back-to-back.
This one – the one that began in the fourth quarter of 2007 and has progressively gotten worse – will go down in the books as the worst since the Great Depression. Based on my decades of experience and my professional marketplace observations, here are a few thoughts on where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going.
1. Anything prior to 2009 is ancient history with regard to the marketplace and the way we will do business in the future. This recession includes all of the scary and dangerous things that happened in 2008 but, on Main Street at least, most of 2008 was pretty much like 2007.
2. The year 2009 is merely the transition year between how we used to do business and how we will do business in the future. An awful lot of what we have done and will do to survive 2009 won’t be all that relevant in 2010, so don’t fall in love with it.
No one will ever look back on 2009 with nostalgia. We’re likely to look back and see it as the “throw-away year” - a lot of bad news without delivering much value for the future.
3. After 2009 the marketplace will enter a new era with more government involvement, less risk-taking and new influences, such as new technologies, the growing influences of social media, and the increased influences of Gen X and Gen Y, which are now about half of the U.S. population. The next expansion will begin with more new paradigms than any other in history, which means that recent history will be less relevant than it has been in past recoveries.
My reason for saying all of this is because as we’re dealing with the survival realities of 2009, we have to simultaneously look for how things will be in 2010 and beyond, which will be a lot different. Wouldn’t it be a shame if we survive 2009 and find that we’re uncompetitive for 2010?
Recently, I talked about the year 2009 on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show. Take a few minutes to listen, and be sure to leave a comment.