I had a most provocative breakfast with my dear friend, Cyndy Claussen on Saturday. Like many around the world we’re trying to figure out how to make it in this wretched economy. The doom and gloom of economic woes is omnipresent. But with a little attitude adjustment, you can be opportunistic.
For personal investing, think about the businesses that people will still frequent in this bad economy such as Wal-Mart or Costco, the discount big stores. How about mainstream grocery stores like Safeway and Kroger? They’ll probably gain at the expense of most restaurants, except McDonald’s. What about small, regional banks which were not caught up in this mortgage mess? For all the talk about clean energy, I don’t think oil companies are going away any time soon. I’m not going to pretend I can guess the right time to get back into the stock market, but I think if you’re willing to do the research and track companies every day, there are opportunities. And there is plenty of free research on the Internet through Google Alerts, Yahoo Finance and The Street.
Now that the big banks are being bailed out, they have an opportunity to lend money to exciting new businesses. The government also has this opportunity and I like the start in the Obama stimulus package where renewable energy business innovators can monetize their tax credits directly through the US Treasury for for projects that start between now and the end of 2010.
I enjoyed Tom Friedman’s perspective in yesterday’s NY Times column, “Start Up the Risk-Takers.” He discusses how America is bailing out our major businesses, like the auto industry which might still not survive, or will be greatly slimmed down best case. While we need to shore up our banking industry as it’s the foundation for business, we need to consider the entrepreneurial businesses, which have made America great such as Google, Intel and Microsoft. Let’s be on the lookout for the next Google to invest in. We still have great innovation in America. Let’s not curb their enthusiasm. Look for the next generation of information technology, bio-tech, nanotech and clean-energy companies to be what pulls America out of this recession: not only with their great ideas, but with their sense of excitement and hunger to succeed.
As a small business, I am affected by this economy as well. This time last year, I had solid paying training gigs around the world. This year I am doing webinars. Management consulting gigs are not rolling in either, so I have returned to my knitting: research projects and monitoring industry trends, key customer activity, competitors, products and brands. There is always demand for research. I have expanded my social networks in the past year and notice that really enhances the resources I can draw on to supplement primary and secondary research.
We all need to make adjustments in these tough times: as consumers, personal investors, corporate investors and small businesses. Some of us have more choices than others. Don’t just wallow in this media. Stand back and be flexible: think opportunistically.
What opportunities are you digging up in these crazy times? I would love to hear from you.