A couple of years after starting Eagle, I was feeling very pleased with the way things were going. We had achieved good growth, won some good contracts, opened new offices, continued to be profitable and everything was “ticking along” nicely. A good friend of mine who I had lunch with regularly was talking about the economy and the potential for a downturn and he asked me the question, “Is Eagle doing so well because you guys are great at what you do … or is it because the market is so hot that it would be hard to fail?”
Of course the implication was that if the latter was the case, and the market “tanked”, then we could be in big trouble. It was an excellent question … probably appreciated even more with time! It did force me to look hard at our business, truly understand where our strengths and weaknesses were and begin to prepare for a potential downturn in the economy. As we all know the crash came, the Canadian economy suffered through a recession … and Eagle continued to perform!
In November Rick Spence, former editor of Profit Magazine, wrote a piece for Canadian Business. It was entitled “Get Ready for Recession!”. The article is evocative, particularly if you are a business owner and offers some very prudent advice learned from the trenches. The suggestion is that a recession is not an inevitability, but it is certainly a possibility. There are many questions to ask yourself today if you are in business … and this is a good read if you have not seen it yet.
Part of pointing to this article is in answer to the question I am often asked … about Eagle’s strategies, and why we might sometimes do things a little different from competition. All companies create their own strategies based upon their many inputs and really the only good measure is after the fact. I think that if a recession hits I will be very glad that we are not carrying debt! The other side to that coin is that through debt companies can grow through acquisition, time alone will tell which strategies give the best long term results.
Life is fun!