Richard Warner | Leadership
I've been in business for myself through three recessions. We opened our doors in the middle of one back in 1990 but were too dumb to realize that it probably didn't make sense to launch a company at that moment. Conditions began to improve a few months later but for all we knew, we were seeing growth because we'd hit on a winning formula.
Recession #2 came along in the summer of 2000. Few realized the dot com bubble had blown until the economy was headed straight down that fall. 9/11 made it worse. And on top of that, most of our customers were companies that had invested too early in internet marketing and were turned off by it. At this point I'd been around long enough to know times were bad and, indeed, business took several years to bounce back.
18 months ago the old feeling was back. With this recession, it wasn't so much that companies canceled their plans or that we lost out on projects. It was more a case that customers decided to do nothing. Many of our competitors were experiencing the same thing.
Well I'm here with good news. Times are changing. Customers are thawing. There's a white board around here from a year ago that shows our early 2011 pipeline and right now that's where some of our new business is coming from. You can feel it. Yes, companies are still sensitive to pricing and in some cases, they tend to want a modest scope of work with a promise of add-ons down the road. (And in a few cases, those add-ons got added-on faster than expected).
I wonder if we just get tired of recessions and that's how they end.
As a leading economic indicator, I'm here to tell you that 2012 is looking good. Barring some disaster in Greece or something we didn't expect.