When the masses cower to the bear, we should put our horns on!
The last few years have been very challenging for many different apparent reasons, not least the pandemic and the cost of living crisis that has taken the lead as the headline champion. I mean no disrespect to the geo-political landscape but it does seem the column inches granted to inflation this year have now surpassed the conflict that continues in the east of Europe. For many people in society, and in business, times are currently troubling I agree, yet there is a more optimistic side to our current times and this is due to the opportunities that always present themselves when most of the market feels fear to one level or another.
It may appear as the markets twitch and financial forecasts become tentative that there is little chance for growth in the near future, but let me state from professional experience, that these are the times that real value comes into view. However, that value will not land in our laps, it has to be found and by found I mean discovered, which entails leg work. A fundamental requirement is to shift our mindsets from fear to opportunism, and with that comes clarity of mind.
Recessions make more millionaires than bull markets but for good reason, the minority sense the weakness of the masses. Yet the last recession, the real one that started in 2008, not the V-shaped pandemic version which was merely masked by QE, saw more millionaires created than at any other stage in history. It appears the minority is growing but when we live in a world of billions the minority of new millionaires is a mere drop in the ocean. However, the principles still apply and a core one is simply bravery. Sprinkle the leg work and recessions become the time to look, not the time to hide.
Every company in every sector has room for improvement in some shape or form. Inflation or recession or a regional crisis is the ideal time to look into the metaphorical mirror. When you locate components and apply enhancements that improve your systems, processes or procurement practice you make it easier to get through the chaos with less stress and financial pain. More importantly, when opportunities arise, you are primed to strike.
The payoff comes when the market gets back on its feet (as it always does) and you have a more efficient, well oiled and smooth operational procedure than those who have been in hiding struggle to compete with. It’s all about netting success and I am yet to meet anyone highly successful that spent bear market climates in cover formation.
It all comes down to what you want to achieve, what is your core objective: is it to survive or thrive? Companies tend to act on whatever seems less risky – but how risky something is is a matter of debate. Not taking action at all, reducing costs and clipping your wings to save money during a challenge seems safer in the shorter term, but it can mean you set yourself up to fail when the economy recovers. In essence shying away from risk in certain scenarios shorter term creates vastly more risk over the longer period of time.
I started Supermax at a time when the market was highly competitive. It was, excuse my pun, considering we are a PPE business, under lockdown from the super majors of the industry. Yet, I saw opportunity and wielded a work ethic and burgeoning team to grasp the market place with both hands. The only reason I was in a position to start the business was due to the investments we made during the Great Recession, and it has been paying dividends ever since and continues to this day.
As we look into the eyes of the bear sharpening its teeth, I again look forward to the yield that the right mindset and the right investments will inevitably bring, unless of course, human nature for the masses changes, which of course it won’t as after all, we are all human.
Remaining at your service.
Iain Crawford, CEO