2011 started with news of disasters: the Queensland floods, the tsunami in Japan, the carbon tax debate, weak consumer sentiment, the Greek tragedy, the stock market crash, downgrading of the USA credit rating … the bad news keeps on coming. Things couldn’t get worse than this, or could they? 

Bad news can affect how we view the world, our life and our business. We become fearful of the future and decide not to do anything new, risky or even necessary to make our personal and business dreams a reality. 

The irony is that if everyone on the planet thought this way, nothing would happen. Economies around the globe – most of them driven by sentiment and confidence about the future – would collapse. We all rely on each other to realise our dreams and build our businesses.

I love how John McGrath puts it: “Stop blaming Julia, the GFC, the floods on what happens to your business.”

I have been in business for more than 16 years. I have seen how some businesses flourished while others failed during the mid-‘90s recession, the 2000 technology crash, the year GST was introduced, September 11 and the 2008-2010 global financial crisis. When I look back at the clients who flourished, I see a pattern of behaviour distinct from those who struggled or failed.

Here is my 2 cents worth on dealing with uncertainty:

1. Leadership: Successful entrepreneurs show distinctive signs of strong and courageous leadership coupled with a BIG vision of what their businesses will look like in the future.

2. Value: Their products/services add perceived and real value to their customers, so that they, as opposed to their competitors, are at the forefront of their customers’ minds.

3. Up-Skilling: Successful entrepreneurs continuously learn new management, sales, finance and marketing skills to improve their businesses.

4. Financial Management: They are prudent financial managers who ensure ZERO wastage of financial resources.

5. Productivity: They demand the most out of their people, ensuring they perform to their KPIs and give 100% of their capabilities (and if they don’t, they are let go of quickly!).

6. Adapt: Their businesses are agile and fast enough to adapt to new challenges and uncertainties. They are strengthened by a strong team and culture of open communication.

 7. Mindset: They instinctively understand the one encompassing truth about business (and life, for that matter), which is: "If you are not growing, you are dying slowly.”

Imagining the future should be at the forefront of your mind. Everything you do should be aligned with your BIG vision. Anything less leads you to feel uncertain and bleak about the future.