Saturday, December 13, 2008

Celebrating Another Year Coming to an End

score_tjpg_mcculloch This article was written by Ben McCulloch, Chairman, SCORE Orange County

Here in mid-December perhaps you, too, have the surprise feeling of ‘where did that year go?! … Offset (more than a little bit) by a twinge of ‘I thought it would never end!’ As the last two months have repeatedly reminded us, business cycles don’t pay much attention to the calendar. But, the end of one year signals the beginning of another, and the time in-between provides a short pause to take stock.

What have we learned this year?

For many, the year has presented numerous, unforeseen challenges. For some, it’s also presented a few unexpected opportunities. Our shared experience is a reminder that there are many factors over which we have no control, nor can we anticipate with confidence. You may have begun the year with well-constructed business plans, but they may not have prepared you for the surprises and uncertainties since September.

How to prepare for next year?

Keep planning! Uncertainty doesn’t mean you can’t plan. Instead, build on your current business plans with a different approach, mindful that risk increases the further out you try to project, and that the consequence of being wrong may have increased substantially. Focus you’re planning on the fundamentals of your business: costs and cash flow, of course. But also key on your core customers, your products and services, and how you market to bring those two together. And, if you need assistance, or just need a sounding board, give us a call.

As we continue into the Holidays, and on behalf of the women and men of your SCORE chapter, I wish you a happy, restful, and safe season. Congratulations on dealing with a historic set of challenges, and best wishes for success in the coming year. We look forward to seeing you again soon, and working together to make an impact in the Orange County business community.