It’s the End of 2012…Are You Still Waiting?

How long have you been waiting for the economy to get better?  At the beginning of this year, businesses were complaining that unemployment was not getting better, retail sales had dipped down and the economy was still sluggish; thus they were afraid to do anything until it got better.  Then later on I heard businesses were waiting for the election to see who won.  Not sure why…since it does not really matter short term who wins because the economy cannot change on a dime and it would take several years to begin to see any change as a result.

Now I am hearing that businesses are waiting for the fiscal cliff to be resolved.  I think it is in the best interest of the President and congress to come up with a workable solution to the fiscal cliff before the end of the year.  But no matter what solutions they come up with, businesses will be impacted and taxes will be higher.  So yes, two things you can bet on next year are that you will be paying more taxes and the payroll holiday tax will disappear.

The longer CEOs try to wait it out and do nothing, the more they put their companies at risk for failure.  As Theodore Roosevelt said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” Are you just sitting there waiting for others to resolve the economic issues while you do nothing or are you putting plans into action now to be prepared for the future?

Things you should have already done by now or if not, should be doing NOW are…

  1. Set up an appointment with your accountant to discuss tax strategies for this year and next; thus working to reduce your corporate taxes.
  2. Set up a strategic planning session with your executive team.  Review the business goals for 2012 to see if you accomplished everything you set out to do this year?  Note what was successful and what was not and plan accordingly, keeping your competition, the changing world and technology in mind as you decide on your 2013 goals.  Make sure you put together an action plan on how you will achieve your goals.  Then appoint someone on your executive team, if it is not the CEO, who will follow up and be responsible for making sure the goals are met and everyone is held accountable.
  3. Continue to invest in your company’s growth.  Spend cautiously on capital expenditures that will strengthen your infrastructure and hire people who can help you grow your company.
  4. Use an outside source (consulting firm, interim executive firm, etc.) to help your company see new opportunities.  The reason for this is that over time your executive team will become myopic in their vision.  Someone from outside your company, or even outside your industry, can help overcome this and provide some additional perspective to your team.  It is very important for companies to continue to reinvent themselves.  Examples of failed companies who became complacent in their businesses and did not pay attention to their competitors or how the world around them was changing are Borders Books, Polaroid, Circuit City, Linens and Things, Nortel, Tower Records as well as many others I can name.

So stop worrying about what others are going to do and start taking responsibility for your own company’s growth by making informed and innovative decisions.

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