As we approach the year-end, tradition demands that business leaders begin to focus on the trends in the economy and set-forth economic predictions for the coming year and propose strategies to enable businesses to respond effectively to those proposed challenges. While many of the “the sky is falling” predictions may be overstated, the accepted consensus of thought among leading economists is gravitating toward a likely recession sometime in 2017.
Some more extreme predictions promote an impending economic downturn greater than that experienced in 2008. “I think the end of 2017 or the start of 2018 is quite possible for a recession,” says Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial. “All the indicators seem to be lining up for that time frame.” Hopes that a change in presidential leadership will defer such a down turn hold little promise. “Our expectation is the economy will be relatively weak. The next president is going to need a plan right out of the gate,” says John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable, the group that has spoken with both Clinton’s and Trump’s campaigns about ideas to spur growth. Coming out of the “Great Recession” of 2008 many business leaders expected a recovery typical of past economic declines but was surprised to experience a persistent, lagging time span and the overall weakness of the recovery. “We’re kind of stuck in a funk,” says economist David Beckworth of Western Kentucky University. “This is the new normal.” Whether we are to believe these pessimistic forecasts or not, now is the time for organizational leaders to formulate a business strategy for survival and growth in 2017.
The process of formulating an effective strategy begins with evaluating the current state of your business, syncing with who your best customers are and what solutions are most vital to them. Remember, a plan is the road map to a future reality. A projected journey to protect a position and hold the line against the competition is not a plan for sustainability or growth in the marketplace.
No matter the pedigree or the validity of an economic forecast, a legitimate strategic plan requires the ability to monitor measure and respond to changes in original assumptions. An ongoing focus on the metrics of the plans progress will permit you to evolve your tactics to address a dynamic environment that may threaten a plans original projected outcome.
A responsible allocation of resources to any endeavor is critical to the success of any outcome. The results of any process can be linked back to the amount of resources directed at the effort. “Pie-in-the-Sky” goals and objectives in any economy is a certain detriment to a successful outcome. Reasonable, realistic and responsible projections set the foundation for a sound strategy.
Not all organizations are structured to develop, execute and manage a comprehensive strategic process. Forming a partnership with an experienced and skilled provider who is in the position to focus the necessary skills on the process can be essential to success.
Founder and CEO of Junction Creative Solutions (Junction) says, “We have already started the strategic planning process with many of our clients before the end of the year. We are assisting our clients with developing strategies such that we can respond in real-time to this volatile political environment and rapidly changing marketplace. Our team is constantly monitoring market trends to better inform our clients of how it might impact a specific market segment or target consumer. ”
Now is the time to prioritize, identified and develop a phased strategically smart approach to weathering the coming economic storm whatever its intensity.