A byword today is “uncertainty” — and it can be a handy excuse for lack of performance in the business world.
To be sure, uncertainty about what might happen in Washington, D.C., or Harrisburg should give business owners and managers pause as they plan for 2013 and beyond. But where there's a will, there's a way.
Just take a look around the midstate, as we do every day. Today's Business Journal, for example, features a look at the diverse group of people reinvesting in downtown Harrisburg (page 1). Whether seasoned developers, business owners or newcomers, their common denominator is recognizing and seizing opportunity. They weren't lured into investing in the distressed city by government promises, nor were they put off by the city's situation; rather, each perceived a market need and decided to capitalize on it.
Likewise, it would have been easy for Armstrong World Industries to continue its spiral downward and blame a poor global economy for the welter of problems it faced when CEO Matthew J. Espe took the reins two years ago. But the company posted significantly improved earnings in the third quarter this year. As Espe explains in an interview (page 1), he never stops looking for opportunities to improve, invest and identify new markets.
One of the biggest challenges a tech startup in Central Pennsylvania faces is attracting venture capital. Meet Startup Lancaster, (page 13) launched by entrepreneur Charlie Crystle, which brings together fledgling tech companies informally once a month to swap war stories and share business ideas. After a year and a half, thanks to their decision to help each other, they will hold their first Investor Day, where a handful will pitch to early-stage investors.
The future is always uncertain — but it belongs to those willing to make a move. Nobody has a crystal ball to show how the financial markets will perform or where the next big idea will come from. However, we can make predictions. The most certain is that savvy business owners and entrepreneurs will find ways to thrive even in the worst of times.
Just look around the midstate. Good times or bad, those with vision, courage and a plan will always have a higher chance of success. The crucial first step, after doing your homework, is to stop making excuses and do.