My little sister, the owner of an upscale hair salon in Georgia, called last week. Twice. No message.
In our family that means a twister has touched down in the backyard, so “call me back – now.”
I eventually reached my dear sis and she spat, in a Wizard-of-Oz-Lions-and-Tigers-and-Bears-Oh-My tone of voice, her concerns over the economy. The collapse of two banks. Rampant inflation.
Was it time to buy gold or silver? Should she pull several thousand dollars from her bank in case she needed it in an emergency? Should she eschew banks altogether, and put the money in her mattress?
I listened with intent sympathy as my sister shared her hair-raising concerns. After all, I’m not a financial advisor or an economist. However, as a fractional marketing executive at Chief Outsiders, I work with CEOs and their leadership teams to find the right solutions to their growth challenges. And in helping these CEOs weather the storms, I certainly know how to pack their quivers with the sharpest arrows to fight their way out of the morass.
First, a general rule about business, and how we advise leaders like you: Emotion is not your friend. To really “make it” requires a focused effort – building the right growth strategy and execution plan, backed by an effective marketing and sales engine, and producing sustainable revenues and a solid ROI.
To do this, you need a reliable resource to make sense of the economy. That means not reacting to the Dow, the media (mainstream or otherwise), or what is said at the water cooler – which, by the way, is where most Americans make the absolute WORST judgments about the state of the economy and what it means to their business.
Personally, for my clients, I reach for the advice of the professionals at ITR Economics to make sense of it all. They ARE economists – which means they do not fall for the emotion trick – and they're extremely skilled at dissecting and forecasting the U.S. economy.
Though they would never fess up to having a crystal ball, they have an all-time 94.7 percent accuracy rate in forecasting the U.S. economy 12 months out. That’s why I – and my fellow Chief Outsiders – have relied upon ITR for more than a decade to bring their forecasting track record and framework to our clients. In fact, our teams meet regularly to discuss new ways of jointly addressing client needs.
When connected to ITR clients or prospects, Chief Outsiders cuts through the noise by executing marketing strategies that reach target customers and accelerate revenue generation. Our fractional CMOs and fractional CSOs build and execute growth plans to accelerate top-line revenue growth through strategic planning, customer/prospect and market insights, effective and disciplined marketing plans, and the execution and measurement of results.
To accomplish that mission, understanding the economic state of the business and the marketplace is of critical importance. To truly understand the state of the overall economy and the macroeconomics surrounding business verticals, I rely upon the monthly ITR Economics Trends Report.
As an example of the kind of forward-looking insights ITR provides, here’s just a bit of detail from their March 2023 report with respect to the overall U.S. economy, which they say is embedded in a “Slowing Growth” phase:
"We expect that the U.S. government will be consistent with modern history and engage in deficit spending in an attempt to offset the distress of the negative phase of the business cycle, even if the business cycle distress looks to be mild."
"Private sector employment is at a record high (normally good news for an economy but not with this Fed)."
"We expect some industries to be relative winners this business cycle."
Of course, all this market-facing insight is meaningless if you don't know within which of the four economic phases your business currently resides – and where you're heading. ITR classifies these four phases as:
The key ingredient to making this relevant for you is tracking your company’s revenue by using the 3/12 (leading indicator) and 12/12 (lagging indicator). This data will give you the critical insight you need to make the right strategic moves, no matter what economic cycle your business is in (You can dive deeper into these concepts in an earlier blog I wrote about ITR’s forecasting science).
So how did I talk my sister off the ledge? I sent her a link to a recent ITR blog, and I encouraged her to check out their Economics Trends Report. In a showing of brotherly love, I'm going to help her track her 3/12 and 12/12 revenue so, combined with the market-facing data and insights from ITR, she can plot the right growth strategies during these unsettling times.
Next time, when the Wicked Witch flies over her Emerald City and sky-writes, "Surrender Dorothy," she'll know better than to get sucked into the panic that everyone else around her will undoubtedly embrace.