It’s during these sorts of tumultuos times that I find it difficult to disguise my contempt for economists. If they were really any good at what they did they would have shorted bank stocks and be sitting pretty on their islands. The same is true for commentators and all those who have views but no real responsibility for those views. And by real responsibility I mean jobs that have jobs, careers and at the very minimum bonuses riding on their judgements. The thing about the Lehmens thing (for those of us not directly affected and carrying those little boxes out the door) is that it makes the rest of us think hard. It’s judgement day for everyone who runs a business where they have to balance income and outgoings. You can’t help but sit down in the morning with your coffee and paper and think: “OK, what are my clients and customers thinking now”? I can tell you what they are thinking. They are thinking: “What are my clients and customers thinking now”? And what really does not help as you contemplate the quality of your offer/product/people and those of your competitors and compute the infiinite variations that those elements spin off is the pre-judgement of overhead/head-office types who have never run a business and who now want to look like the clever business people they will never be by saying “let’s cut things and look at our cost base”. I have two clients who are going through this examination by functional pygmies right now.
It’s at times like this that the real business people earn their money. In the next few days decisions to cut, stay the course, go for growth will really be made. And the closer those decisions are made to the actual business the better those decisions will be and the real winners in this process will now be screening out the siren noises of head office types, economists, analysts and absentee shareholders and talking quietly to their most able colleagues, their best clients and customers and consulting their stomach.