To properly address the New Reality we have to look backwards. From the 1960’s to 1980 management felt pretty good about things. Sales revenues had increased, profits were up, life was good. We thoguht we must be the greatest generation of business managers ever. But it was all inflation.
When Paul Volcker and the Federal Reserve raised interest rates to kill inflation there was a serious adjustment. Businesses reinvented themselves. Operating metrics became all the rage and we developed business models for everything.
Well in a few years we felt pretty good again. With a couple of exceptions sales went up and profits went up and things were good again. But it was all leverage. With George W Bush at the helm we witnessed some of the most severe disruptions in our lifetimes. But we had to lick leverage and he and his Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson started to get it done.
In 1980 for every dollar of US GDP there was $3.70 of debt. By 2005 that debt had grown to $30.00 (The Trillion Dollar Meltdown). I shudder to think what it is today with our deficits and spending seemingly totally out of control. We are clearly in a new era when the Federal Reserve keeps printiing money and the currency continues to be debased. We have to reinvent our businesses again. We have to repair balance sheets and we have seen that happening. For everyone BUT the goverenments, all governments. Don’t forget I live in California and we make Greece look good.
We have seen encouraging signs in the equipment world. Equipment sales have been up dramatically – 30%+ to 40%+ for two years in a row. But we still have a big hill to climb to get back to the previous peak. This is not going to change for a long, long time – that is the new reality. You will survive and perhaps thrive IF your focus is on Parts and Service and for some of you Rentals. If you don’t have that focus….there is a significant risk to you. The time is now.