Planning for Uncertain Times

2010The old axiom “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail” seems to have a bit of a hollow ring to it after the events of the past 18 months. After all, many making plans based on the predictions from the national media and economists in 2008 were blind-sided by the economic collapse caused by the crisis in the financial sector of our economy. However, it is true that in order to move forward confidently, we must have SOME sort of plan for the future.

However, based upon the recent record of national economists, how confident are you in the recent predictions of growth for 2010? How does one plan confidently in such an uncertain scenario?

In a great column in Business Week, Steve McKee (of McKee Wallwork Cleveland Advertising) gives good advice for small businesses looking to prepare their marketing plans for 2010. For McKee, the answer is: you prepare multiple plans based upon three scenarios:

The economy in 2010 will look the same as 2009.  In this scenario, the key is to focus on share. Prepare your marketing budget to be able to quickly take advantage as your competition goes out of business or cuts back on their marketing.

The economy will get worse in 2010. In this scenario, your main focus will be to keep your business as a viable concern going forward. However, keep in mind that recessions and bad times can have some of the greatest opportunities for those who continue to market and position themselves for when times get better. In this scenario, cut back, but don’t cut out your marketing.

The economy will grow in 2010. During recovery, the temptation will be to grab all you can. Just remember that there can be danger in growing too fast and having your receivables exceed your cash, causing service and/or inventory problems. In this scenario, moderate demand through pricing and payment terms.

For greater insight, I suggest you read the entire article. It is a quick read and will provide you with valuable insight as you prepare your plans for 2010.

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