Acting on what you know

Everyone wants to know, so I thought I’d tell you. Here’s what’s going to happen with the economy: It’s going to go up.

Then down. Then up. Then down.

Sometimes all within the same day. (For verification, just check the stock market.)

Beyond that, nobody knows what’s going to happen. Yes, there are multitudes of talking heads on television who say they know what’s going to happen. But they don’t know either.

In the face of not knowing, what can you do?

To paraphrase the handbook of the Stoics, you can control what’s within your power. And let go what is not.

No one person can control the levers of the world economy. Not the leaders of the free world, and not the guys who show up and paint a new number on your curb whether you want them to or not.

What everyone can control is many of the levers of his own personal economy. How has your economy changed, and where does it make sense now to invest in your economy? How has the economy of others in your circle (customers, vendors, employees, allies) changed, and how can you help them help you?

One of our clients offers a service to both consumers and businesses. His business is way down from last year. He can’t control the economy, but what he can do is look at who is buying from him, and why. Our advice: consumers have cut back on what he offers, but businesses need it now more than ever. (And indeed, we just bought more from him last week.) So now’s the time for him to switch his marketing to fit the market.

2009 is not 2008 and never will be. (Let alone 2005, which isn’t coming back.) Are you acting accordingly?

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