Businessmen and economists will disagree if we reached to dark ages or no yet… the ones who will confirm that are having many reasons to believe so:
- The global economic, social , environmental, security situation around the world, supported by a fear of Third World War coming shortly starting from Syria.
- Increase of unemployment rates in most of the counties
- Dramatic drop in size of investments and shrinkage of profits
- The increasing percentage of bad debts in many countries
- The big shortage of cash in many countries, which lead to stops of many strategic projects and close down of big companies because of that.
- Low purchasing power as most of individuals are worried about future and conserving their cash as much as possible.
Such people believes that we already in the dark ages and they are very pessimistic about investing in any field or country. Their plan ,most of the time , is to watch and see.
The opposite side are people who think that it is not dark ages yet, and world still active.They think that even with wars and instability , many countries are facing reasonable growth rates, many companies are achieving unrecorded profits, rich people are getting richer, luxury services and products are highly in demand.
Regardless of reaching into dark ages or not, I will believe it important to be ready and plan your investments to work in bad situation and difficult business environment . When very bad timings comes, investors shall not surrender to their fears and do nothing. Smart investors will cope with the change and try to benefit of opportunities raising from the dark such as:
- World’s population is increasing, leading to more demand on basic life needs like food, health & education,
- Many countries who got out from wars and instability started rebuilding and are hungry for investments and services.
- Reasonably good economic growth in emerging markets, requiring advanced services and products.
- Environmental challenges leading to opportunities in waste management, renewable energy , energy control and assessment systems and new jobs categories
- Security challenges leading to advanced technology providers, alternative education solutions for war areas, food supply chain solutions for re-allocation services.
- Shrinkage of food , and increasing number of people forcing investments towards more food projects and agricultural technologies associated with it.
Investors shall use Lean and Agile approach in their investments during Dark Ages or difficult timings, this approach can be explained in four guidelines:
First: Erase your previous assumptions and forget forecasts. It is proven that the most professional consultants and business analysts did not and could not predict what happens in many countries or economies around the world. Falling down in previous assumptions or business forecasts will lead to higher risk in investment ( many readers may disagree with me) , because predicting the unpredictable will lead to building plans and assets that are very rigid and hard to change or to adapt with any unlike events , which most likely will happen.
Second: Be Lean which means you should eliminate all kind of Wastes in the investment process and after. Simply. Investors shall be fit enough to move fast and beat others. For example, wasting more than two months in studying and doing due diligence is wrong. Investing in a projects that takes more than 2 years to breakeven is wrong, investing in non-trending heavy assets business is wrong. On the other hand, investing in innovative solutions that are related to basic needs is right. Investing in urgent needs of critical situation is right and investing in business that is efficient and lean is right.
Third: Be Agile which means that in any investment you make , make sure to have the ability to adopt with unlike events without knowing them! . Yes, don’t waste your time in forecasting and trying to understand what could happen. Just focus on having your business and investment model structured in away that can go around any event. For example, considering a mobile production unit in a factory to move in case of current location challenges, or establishing multiple tiers of production in case of raw material shortages, or developing outsourcing agreement to stabilize services delivery.
Fourth and Most Important: Follow your heart. Don’t let numbers make you blind. Don’t let crisis make you afraid, and Listen to people but don’t follow them, just follow your heart. Investements are not for logical people , it is for people who believes.