Buffeting Business

I watched an interview with Warren Buffett on CNBC early Monday morning.  Few would argue that Mr. Buffett is one of the most savvy and successful investors and businessmen of our time.  You can see some of his comments on the video, but the three main points are this:

  1. The American Consumer has lost confidence, and our markets and our economy are paying the price.
  2. That American business works – it may not always be perfect, but it can and will recover.
  3. That the team in Washington needs to work together, not against each other, to solve the problem. 


Warren Buffett on CNBC on MSN March 9, 2009

Regaining Confidence:

  • A light at the end of the tunnel?  While Q2 is expected to see a continued decline, a recent survey of 51 economists see a modest upturn starting in Q3.
  • China’s Q1 GDP Growth is estimated to be 6.5% while not something they are happy about, since its average GDP growth over the last 25 years of 10%.  But we learned in business school that 3% is the responsible and sustainable growth level over time for any economy.  Perhaps what we are seeing is a return to realism not the end of the world economy.
  • When the cupboard is empty it’s time to start buying.  We’ve all held back and conserved as we saw things tighten up.  Companies cut back on inventories, consumers stopped buying and used what they had on hand.  But especially in the cases of consumables- you eventually run out and need to start buying again.  There are some fabulous deals out there.  I’ve seen it first hand.  When my job ended in December, I started to conserve.  We used the stuff in the freezer or cupboard instead of buying more.  But as the cupboard runs bare, its time for a buying trip to Costco and Safeway.The economic winds that are buffeting business will change.  They always do.

    American Business Works

    • IBM is on the offensive – forging forward and taking proactive measures to lead in their markets.  It must be working.  The aggregate drop in their stock since the beginning of the year is only about 1% compared to the DOW that is down 25%
    • Even in a recession – some companies are hiring.  Even banks, one of the hardest hit industries by the downturn, are hiring.  When the weak ones fail, the stronger, more conservative ones are picking up the slack and growing.
    • In every meltdown, new businesses emerge.  Read this story on how people who lost their jobs created new businesses and jobs for lots of people.

    We ALL need to work together to solve these problems.

    Instead of bemoaning the challenges, or letting the economic winds buffet you from side to side – DO something about it.  Be part of the solution.  Here are a few ideas…

    1. Buy something today!  (It does not have to be huge or a grossly irresponsible debt causing event.  Buy something in proportion to what you have to spend.)  If each one of us bought something each day, spending will rise.  Stop hoarding your cash.  When we stop spending we cycle down – when we start spending we cycle up.
    2. Call Three People you know.  Ask how things are going.  Offer ideas or offer  to help.   Be positive!
    3. If you are not working – VOLUNTEER somewhere.  Non profits are getting hit especially hard right now.  Instead of sitting home and watching TV, call an organization that is making a difference and ask them if they have something you can do for them.  You’ll feel better about yourself and perhaps help someone else who needs it even more.
    4. If you are working, pay attention to what you do and how you do it.  When times are good, we all tend to get a little sloppy.  Now is the time to look at each program or process and find ways to improve, optimize, and in some cases let go of things that are not productive.
    5. Pay Attention to what’s happening in Washington.  Go on Twitter and follow John McCain and Barack Obama.  They are sharing what they are doing –  follow along.  And if you see something you like or something you don’t –  call your Congressman.  What they are doing will affect you.
    6. Never lose hope.  Whether it is a business problem, a personal challenge, or the economy at large the only thing that can truly defeat us is our attitude.  Never give up. 

    Yes the current winds are Buffeting Business and those of us in it.  But eventually every wind calms.  Smoother seas follow and we move ahead.

    Joan Koerber-Walker

  • Posted in Blog, Getting Back to Basics, Real World Inspiration.