The New Norm is Becoming the Norm

How long is something new before it just starts being the status quo?

It’s been three years that our economy has been like this. I predict another 5-7, which could get stretched out to 10 years before we get back to a pre-2007 economic climate.

I’ve been saying for a while that we’re headed for another recession and that the economy is going to be flat for the next 5-7 years. By definition we can’t have a double-dip because we’ve had two quarters of growth.

But we keep getting held back from further recovery due to our own folly and the interconnectedness of the world economies.

The stock market has dropped 3.5%, giving up all of its upside for 2011, and no one could predict the tsunamis or the nuclear fallout in Japan. Another episode in Europe or elsewhere could put the U.S. right back on its butt (if we haven’t already tripped and we’re just in that pre-getting it state before we wind up on our butts).

If you read the papers in the last couple of days, you heard that the knocked-out power-plants that were supposedly controlling only 5% of of Tokyo were actually controlling as much as 25% of the electricity in Tokyo. This has slowed and will continue to slow Japanese manufacturing and business dramatically. Due to the Japanese “just in time” inventory method that most modern businesses have gone to in the last 15-20 years, Japanese auto makers in the US and others in the manufacturing sector are going to be slowed down. This will only further exacerbate our own recovery.

Who knows how far the Japanese market will go down at this point, and the more problems that arise the more this market will spiral. This will affect us.

Why am I throwing all of this out? No, I don’t like dread and doom. I like facing reality, and I’m sharing this because the recovery is going to get stretched out more and more and problems compound problems.

So what do you need to do? You need to prepare yourself and your business for this situation.

It can be hard to change because change is hard. But you need to look at what you can change to be proactive, even if something’s been working for 20 years. It may not need to be the product itself, but it may need to be your manufacturing processes or something else that let’s you stay ahead of this curve.

Separate the emotions, and look for practical solutions.

And beware the alligators. They may already be chomping.

What do you predict for the economy in years to come? How soon will a full recovery be in effect?