I've mentioned before how familiar this business climate feels to me. It's like finding an old but cosy coat in the back of the closet that you used to wear all the time, but which you replaced with a shiny new one. This old coat isn't so bad, you think. Comfortable is probably the wrong word, but 'familiar' works.
When I first saw the extent of the 'growth bubble' in Bend, and sat down and worked out the math, it looked extremely serious. But it was a huge economy, I told myself, so maybe it won't be as bad as I think it will be.
Nevermind that I've always had a theory that a bubble is a bubble is a bubble, whether it's sports cards or comics or Magic or Pokemon or Beanie Babies or Pogs.....or houses and businesses. Different in particulars, but eerily similar in overall ramifications.
So...the fact that it's every bit as bad as I first thought, or worse, doesn't totally surprise me. I had already prepared myself.
When I trumpet my experience, it's not to say that I know more than other people or other businesses -- it's to say, I know more than My Former Self. That is, I've learned not to repeat the same mistakes that I made then.
I have a tendency to underestimate problems, to believe the 'experts', to think that if I'm the only one feeling it but everyone else says they aren't that I'm wrong, to believe I can spend my way out of trouble by buying good stuff, that I can go into debt short term and pay it back later, that it will turn around much sooner than it does, that my suppliers and landlords will make concessions because of the slow business, to believe that my customers will stay firm no matter what, and so on and so on.
But, because I've been through this so many times before, while I may still feel denial and defiance and anger and finally resignation, I cycle through the phases very fast.
Years of dealing with this kind of thing has made the responses educated instead of guesses. Believe me, I've tried everything to reverse a burst bubble, and nothing works.
It's like trying to change the weather.
The business climate has changed, and all you can do is search the back of the closet for that old, warm coat and slog through the storm.
And it's O.K.
6 days ago