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In uncertain times, focus on core values

In case you haven’t noticed, there are many local, national, and global issues that are complicating the world. From the new coronavirus to the impeachment hearings, the world is an uncertain place.

Amidst all of this, companies continue to operate, trying to navigate through the choppy waters. I do not mean to insinuate that this is a time of doom–not at all.

The economy in the U.S. is very strong—stock markets are at or near record levels, unemployment is very low, and optimism is high. So, what is the big deal?

The big deal is that uncertainty makes it difficult to make good decisions, especially long-term.

For example, if you own and operate a growing facility and want to expand your plant, how should you make a decision? Planning for the future is hard, and more so when the crystal ball is foggier than usual.

In a perverse sort of way, uncertainty makes business more fun. Certainly, it makes running a business more challenging when times are less clear cut. Whether you find it fun, a pain in the neck, or both, how can you position yourself for future success?

Starting with the basics is a good idea. Focus on what is most important. Do not lose sight of what are the two or three key drivers of your business. Keeping your eye on the ball is pivotal for future success.

Your people should be high on your list of important. Are you doing things that are not good for your workforce?

Businesses go through rough patches. Almost all do at one time or another. It is not the bad times that cause a business to close or stumble, it is how you deal with the hard times. Being honest and trusting of your people will go a long way to keeping the ship running and these values will long be remembered by those in your business.

Work hard on positioning your business to operate productively and keeping the ship running.

Keep a close eye on your receivables and pay your bills as quickly as you can. These basic steps will help keep your business operating in an efficient manner and position you well in the tough times.

Uncertainty is no stranger to business. It is a constant source of opportunity.

Jim Carr is the President and CEO of Blue Book Services Inc.