What Does Your Crystal Ball Look Like?

A businessman is consulting a crystal ball to foretell the future.

Every business owner and executive wants a crystal ball. While these are impossible to come by, a solid environmental scan of the best current and past data can help us make better-informed decisions.

For businesses in Central PA, page 9 of the recent Wells Fargo Pennsylvania Economic Report for July 2016 highlights the regional:

  • Importance of the Panama Canal expansion;
  • Impact of population gains; and
  • Benefits accruing from continued growth in e-commerce.

For more on the factors impacting Central Pennsylvania, check out the Wells Fargo report as well as my May 2015 article 5 “Need-to-Knows” for Pennsylvania Business Leaders.

Vistage CEO Conf Index June 2016Regional data is only part of the picture, though, and it’s helpful to understand what the rest of the national herd is thinking. Every month Vistage Worldwide and the Wall Street Journal survey business owners to compile the Small Business CEO Confidence Index. The most recent results show that most CEO’s expect a persistent economic slowdown with 45% of CEO’s reporting negative business impacts due to uncertainty over the November election.

On a more positive note, 51% of surveyed CEO’s expect to add employees during the coming year while only 7% anticipate the need to downsize.

Taken as a whole, both the regional and national information provide business owners with knowledge to make better-informed decisions. And while it’s not a true crystal ball, as the 1980’s GIJOE PSA’s used to say, “knowing is half the battle.”

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© 2016 Chad C. Harvey. All Rights Reserved.