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CEO Tools Blog

September 12 Seasons: CLOBBER COMPETITION

Twelve Seasons in September asks "what do the economy, business environment and outlook portend for the rest of this year and 2013?"

My own view is that right now is the toughest time, perhaps in my lifetime, to answer those questions; just too much uncertainty about the distinctly different approaches of the two presidential candidates to guiding Government over the next few years.  We do know our favorite economists, Brian and Alan Beaulieu, are forecasting continued improvement economically in the near term followed by a recession starting late-2013 and into 2014.  And as we've previously pointed out, that recession could start sooner.

Two immediate thoughts come to mind:  because you know this outlook, CLOBBER COMPETITION by doing things pro-actively to surpass your competitors who will be caught flat-footed by not preparing and pro-acting; and secondly learn to manage cash better (much of our 12-Seasons over the past two years have addressed this, with summaries on this BLOG site (just search cash in the Search Box, above right).

An observation about cash:  growth in 2012-13 will gobble cash into receivables, inventories and the addition of new people (although modest adds) in most companies.  But recessions also eat cash because we often go into them too "hot" meaning we have too much inventory which is hard to lower as the recession slows growth, thus tying up cash, and our customers slow their payments to us, again reducing our incoming cash flows.  So plan for these things by adopting the cash tools we talk about on the BLOG and in the Cash Manager Tool at www.ceotools.com, by brainstorming how to behave differently than the competition, by finding tools to improve your actual cash availability.  A monthly "cash focus meeting" with a thought-through agenda for an hour or so once a month with your key people might help!  And...check out the additional suggestions under the free PDF at www.ceotools.com, New Tools Catalog, Cash Manager Tool.  Attack cash!  Even if you've done it before, take a fresh look now that you foresee the ongoing onslaught on cash.

We hope these thoughts will help you in the next few months of planning your business for 2013 and beyond.

Very best wishes, Kraig