Where Are We Now? Who’s On First?

I don’t want to get into what’s happening in baseball right now, but I will say that our current business situation is a lot like the famous “Who’s On First” conversation between Lou Abbott and Bud Costello. To remind you, Lou Abbott is organizing a baseball team. Bud Costello asks to know the names of the players and their positions. The rest is word-play history. Who is on first, What is on second, and I Don’t Know is on third. To keep up with the back and forth is dizzying (and hilarious.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sShMA85pv8M. Some days I feel like, in business, we are living that famous comedy bit, but with much less of the laughter. So, where are we now?

What Have We Lost?

Economic experts seem to agree that the global economy is at 90%. A full 10% of economic activity is just no longer happening. Using our bodies as an analogy, there are 650 named skeletal muscles in a human body. Which 65 of those muscles do you think you can afford to lose and still maintain your desired lifestyle? I don’t mean to sound dire, but we can’t afford to not be honest about the overall health of the world economy.

Through our sophisticated Information Technology, we are all so interconnected now. We view the high impact of current events in our cities, but I don’t think we can pretend that those events won’t touch us here in our region. Any rock thrown in a pond will send ripples throughout. How can we forecast what size that ripple will be when it hits our particular businesses, and when that hit will take place? It could be just a wave. It could be a tsunami. It’s an owner’s job to try to spot it first and to be prepared for it.

Staying The Course In The Middle

Like good citizens, we all hurried to close down our shops and work from home once we learned of the enormity of Covid-19. At some point, it was clear that such a level of isolation was not sustainable and now we are cautiously reopening and rebuilding. It’s just now that we are seeing what a 90% economy can look like. There is a double hit of financial hardship and the fear of a second wave of the virus. We see that lifting the lockdown is a process rather than a 1-week event. Many businesses will emerge with ominous balance sheets only to find weak demand for goods and services. I’m telling myself to take a deep breath, take a step back, and try to see the biggest picture.

What The FUD?

I’ve talked about FUD before. Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt. It’s everywhere. It’s Everyman. It’s a timeless, epic struggle. But I much prefer my FUD from, say, January, to the FUD I have to deal with now. Important Lesson Learned: don’t ever wonder if things could get worse! My best advice is this. Watch for the ripples coming from both near and far. Plan to surf them and get to shore rather than drown in surprise. Control what you can control. Talk to your peers. Share your problems. Ask for help. It’s a big club. Aptica can help you with computer stuff. Call us with your questions.

Jason Newburg, 260.243.5100, ext 2101, is the founder and owner of Aptica LLC. This IT management and support company has been serving small to medium-sized businesses for 19 years in the region that includes Angola, South Bend, and Fort Wayne, IN, Battle Creek, MI, and Toledo OH.

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