Our hotel is near Nashville's Centennial Park. This commentary is from the City's website: "The City of Nashville first undertook the construction of a full-scale replica of the Parthenon for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition of 1897. The exposition celebrated 100 years of Tennessee's statehood a year after its true centennial birthday of 1896. Centennial organizers blamed lack of funds, slow construction and the presidential election of 1896 for the delayed start date. Once started, the Tennessee Centennial was a huge success with approximately 1.8 million people in attendance over the six-month period."This evening, I walked a block from the hotel to a Borders bookstore, leaving my laptop behind, and bringing a simple notepad and pen. I ordered a coffee, than sat down to think about immediate business issues, and the longer-term picture. Sometimes it is good to just get away for a few minutes and put things into perspective.
The stock market rebound today is not entirely unexpected; it doesn't mean all is well, but it suggests that the markets believe the central bankers around the world are successfully controlling the situation (at least for now) to prevent a wholesale depression or sharp, deep, recession. So, those of us not on the brink of immediate disaster can breathe a sigh of relief, though I wouldn't want to be a contractor living on the edge in good times, now facing the world we are in now.
The advice to businesses I've been reading is quite predictable -- focus on the basics, keep in close touch with your clients, and watch your cash flow carefully. Common sense stuff, and no magic bullet or solution is obvious, of course.
I concluded that our business simply needs to maintain and apply its systems properly. We can grow, but must ensure that anyone we hire -- or any market we choose to develop -- passes the essential validation tests. These tests, in part, explain why I am in Tennessee. My conclusion, for now, is that we need to wait a while before opening a business here, but the 'while' may not be that long from now. (I'll have a better picture of the situation by the end of the day tomorrow.)
I admit last Friday to feeling a dose of panic -- preparing mentally for the worst, and the challenges of a deep recession. We may not have that level of crisis now, but we will have to work hard, and creatively, and resourcefully, to get through. The business owners without passion for their work, and competence at their enterprise, will lose ground to those who care and are ready to work at the basics, while dreaming of better things.