Confidence - The Biggest Hurdle
Posted on 3/10/2014 1:28:00 PM
by Ken Bartels, Sr. Vice President
Confidence is Catching!
We all can agree that in general the economy, both on a national and local basis, is improved and hopefully will improve even more. Many economic forecasters are stating this, and even though you can find a forecaster to agree with whatever position you might take, things “are better” than they were for business. When I visited with businesses at the height of the “great recession” I heard many stories about needing to cut back, about putting off non-critical repairs, making do with outdated machinery and technology, dismissing staff at all levels. Business was bad for everyone it seemed and there was little hope for any positive change to that for a long while. There was overall doom and gloom and with good reason. It was going to take time for businesses to recover and it did. Confidence was very low about the future.
In those same conversations, however, there was often a comment shared that “when things get better” then I will be able to do the things that need to be done. Put some training days back in the budget, restore some personnel, fix the roof, update the technology were all comments that I heard. “When things get better…then I can do some things again”.
Now, I know that “things are better” for many right now, actually have been for awhile for some. There are some signs that those restorations just mentioned are actually happening or at least are starting to happen. That’s good. Really good. Everyone should be pleased with that. The interesting sidebar to all this though is that even with the attitude of things being better, the confidence for the future still seems to be lacking. That lack of confidence is holding many back from doing the things they promised themselves that they would do when “things got better”. Maybe, for some, their business is still in recovery, maybe there are catch-up costs that must be covered before other things can happen. Maybe some businesses worked so hard to stay open and viable that they are just still worn out from the struggle and need a little more time.
Or, maybe, confidence is the last thing to recover for us. It may be the biggest hurdle in our race to return to a more robust economy and a brighter future. I understand that. I have witnessed the difficult times many of our customers faced and most endured. It was in some cases heroic. Confidence was gone for many and it will take some time for it to return.
One observation to share, however: Confidence is catching. If you lack it, speak with someone who embraces it and has already turned the corner on the economy and their business whatever it might be. Hear their stories of reinvestment, of fixing their roof and restoring their cuts and the pure joy of being successful and positive again. It might help you in your own business to step back and see that things have improved, even if just a little, and that there are other areas of your business improving right in front of you. Sometimes confidence isn’t based on what is happening but on what you believe will happen.
If you survived the “great recession” and you made promises to yourself about what you would do when it was over…it’s time to move on those. There is confidence to be had in knowing what you went through. There is confidence to be had in deciding to do things that need to be done again. Rebuild, restore, reinvest, reinvigorate, remodel…remember…that sometimes things are better when you make them so!