Note: Today’s article come to you courtesy of Robin Sharma, best-selling author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, The Greatness Guide and The Saint, the Surfer and the CEO: A Remarkable Story About Living Your Heart’s Desires.
Video: Leading without title, courtesy of Robin Sharma Leadership
Welcome back to Reflections of a crazy Colombian. In today’s article we will share five investment strategies that you must consider in these troubled times. I have mentioned this article comes to you courtesy of best-selling author Robin Sharma. Ok, time to be transparent: Robin did not write this article. However, the article is inspired on the last installment of his regular newsletter Leading without Title, of which I am subscriber. I hope you will enjoy the show.
INVESTING IN THE DOWNTURN
Most people these days are scared. The economy is going down the toilet, the swine flu pandemic is in full swing, and tax return season is around the corner. Whilst I am not sure which of these is more scary, I do know that fear is not the greatest decision-making tool at our disposal. So to help you navigate these troubled times, I am going to share five investment strategies you should seriously consider.
Despite the title of this article, I am not really saying you have to follow these recommendations. As best-selling author Dan Millman says,
“You don’t have to wait to make positive and empowering changes; You don’t have to go to school;You don’t have to go to work; You don’t have to go to war;You don’t have to behave as other people expect or desire you to. You don’t have to do anything. Just recognise that every action or inaction has consequences, and that your willingness to accept these consequences gives you the power and freedom to choose who you are, where you are, and what you will do”.
Whilst it is true that you don’t have to follow these recommendations, I suggest you consider them and make a choice.You might find unimaginable benefits from implementing one of the following five strategies:
- Invest in your team
- Invest in your brand
- Invest in new markets
- Invest in your values
- Invest in yourself
Why are these investments good during a recession? Because they either require little money (ie. you can afford it), provide exponential returns over time (ie. will position you to reap the rewards of the next upturn), or both. Let’s explore each of them in detail.
1. INVEST IN YOUR TEAM
Do you know someone who has recently been downsized? Then you know the current labour market is in pretty bad shape. Yet precisely because of that, it provides an incredible opportunity for companies with good leadership. It has never been so easy to attract, motivate, and retain world-class talent. Many organisations are in such a hurry to cut costs down that they are not thoughtfully looking at people’s talents and potential before they mindlessly start downsizing. You don’t have to make the same mistakes! If you are downsizing, take your time and conduct due diligence to ensure you keep the best people in your team. On the other hand, if you don’t need to downsize, invest in the future by bringing the best people into your team. With the current conditions in the labour market, now is the perfect time to build that team of great spirited people Herb Brooks talks about. If you want to know how to build a great team, check our latest video of the month “Building a great team - a tribute to Herb Brooks“
Stand out! This is one of the easiest times to make a good impression without having to go out of your way. Have you noticed that everyone is negative; bad customer service abounds; investment in long-term Innovation is close to non-existent; and cliches such as “people are our greatest asset’ are surprisingly absent? Yes, as uber-marketer and brand expert Seth Godin has so eloquently put it, You Are Boring. To stand out, stay positive and take the path less travelled. Make a good impression. Choose your attitude. Aim for Customer service excellence. Feed your creative self. Implement at least two of these tactics, and great rewards will come to you.
3. INVEST IN NEW MARKETS
When the markets are as hardly hit as they are now, it creates a fantastic opportunity for investment. No, I am not talking about buying the right shares (although buying shares in companies with strong cash flow and disciplined management teams is a great share investment tactic).
What I am talking about is opening new markets. Despite what TV pundits would like us believe, not every sector in the economy is in a recession. If you find an emerging market, this is a great time to build a business there. You might just find that your biggest challenge will be getting the funding for this venture; after all, banks have kind of stopped lending these days. But that’s ok; there are literally millions of people who do not know what to do with their money. Think about it: if you had cash available, what would you do with it? There are almost no investments with a decent rate of return available to retail customers; so build a simple yet solid business case, and go get Other People’s Money. Just make sure you treat it as if it was your own, and you should be able to do pretty well.
4. INVEST IN YOUR VALUES
Times of uncertainty like the current ones beget us to Get back to basics. Under current economic conditions it is perfectly acceptable to follow a strategy of sticking to your knitting. Figure out what you’re good at, who your most valuable customers are, and what are the services and values you stand for; Then spend some time going to those customers, reminde them of what you stand for, and offer your services. By building a business based on integrity, you can create growth, even in the most depressed of markets.
If all else fails, go back to fundamentals: Renew relationships with your loved ones, and savour the simple things in life. They usually are both priceless and free, so no economic downturn will ever take that away from you.
5. INVEST IN YOURSELF
Would you be surprised if I said this is one of the best times to invest in learning new skills? Despite your memories from school, learning can lead to increased levels of passion and engagement; you just need to find out something you WANT to learn (as opposed to something you think you NEED to learn). If you are like most people, you are likely to have been running yourself to the ground like a hopeless workoholic without a 12-step program; After all, short-term profits for either yourself, your company or both often place unsustainable demands on your time, and a growing economy provides ample opportunity for short-term profits. Unfortunately, chances are you invested close to zero in your learning and development as you focused on short-term returns. As Robin Sharma says, “to be a better leader, [ you must] become a bigger person.“. Do yourself a favour and invest some resources (time, money or ideally both!) in yourself. Go learn a new skill on something you enjoy. It will make you a better father, a better mother, a better worker, and ultimately a better human being.
Nowis the time to stop reading and start moving. Just pick one of these five investments and take immediate, massive action today. I promise you won’t regret doing so.