I had the pleasure to speak this morning to nearly 100 business owners at a symposium in Southampton on business in 2009.
To encapsulate: We had speakers talk about the explosive growth of the internet as a medium for businesses of all types (read The World Is Flat for more info). Additionally, the demand for green energy and reducing our carbon footprint was discussed along with the jobs such a demand creates. The importance of giving back was discussed and how especially at times such as this we all need to give what we can to our favorite charities— if it’s not a monetary donation, maybe it’s your time! There was much discussed about the current economic conditions then I spoke about the opportunities abound:
“Remarkable opportunities arise from difficult markets—such as these. Having worked in the Real Estate industry for the last 27 years on the East End, I have experienced a stock market crash and 2 other recessions,, when I began, interest rates were 18-19%.. if you think it’s difficult to sell real estate in this market—that was a time we could only sell to friends and relatives. While this recession is quite deep it is in no way a depression, I think it is irresponsible journalism to sensationalize these difficult times be searching for parallels. During the Depression of the 30’s unemployment was at 25%.. there was double digit losses of GDP… it was a terrible time in American history where we learned so much of what/ how not to have that repeat again. That said, let’s look at even that awful time in history and see which great companies were built, aside from the surge in growth from companies such as GE.. companies that were born in the 30’s were the likes of Fisher-Price, Allstate, Tyson, Mobil, Lego, Toyota, Warner Bros, Sheraton, Polaroid, Volkswagen, SaraLee & The Ritz Carlton… impressive isn’t it! These were all companies run by driven visionaries who were contrarians! They worked hard, invested in their brain children and made things happen! Personally and professionally I am very excited by the tremendous opportunities all around us. We are currently in a market where our children can actually afford to buy a starter home—and this time will not last—we simply do not have the inventory to allow extended down markets. I believe in what we do so much I too have several offers out to get my sons started on the right foot. I wish all my hard earned money was in east end dirt… when I open my 401K and stocks investments and see 60-65% declines I cry! 2009 will be the Year of the Deal! In all price ranges all markets—there will be GREAT deals to cash buyers. The fortunes of tomorrow will be born from the opportunities of today! Remain positive… it’s contagious!”