Half Full and Half Empty Are the Same Thing

One Saturday afternoon early this past spring, I was watching an episode of “Daniel Boone” on Retro TV. An eerie, two minute-long commercial came on. Some investment guy named Porter Stansberry was predicting the “End of America,” pointing to a looming financial crisis triggered by our nation’s debt woes, and ultimately the collapse of the dollar.

It was a powerful commercial, full of apocalyptic images and spooky Halloween-type music. It definitely got my attention, so I proceeded to watch his “documentary” online. It was really interesting—maybe a bit over the top—but really interesting.

Stansberry is known by some as an anti-government fear monger. I don’t know much about that, but it’s fair to say he is somewhat of a fear monger because this TV commercial and website documentary were clearly designed to strike a bit of fear in people.

The interesting thing is that many of the core points in Stansberry’s documentary are starting to come true, i.e. lowering of the U.S. credit rating, wild stock market fluctuations, skyrocketing gold prices and mob rioting. Perhaps the content of his “End of America” message is at least slightly blurred by the overly dramatic presentation, which is unfortunate because the content warrants one’s attention.

The point I want to make is that being a positive, optimistic force in your business is important—but it doesn’t mean you should also be an “ah, this will never happen” type of person. Dealers who get too caught up in the drama and emotion are more inclined to ignore warning signs. That ultimately leads to poor decision-making or maybe no decision-making at all.

The weather-dependent lawn and garden business has always been tough to predict. It’s even tougher today. Consumers tend to slam hard on the brakes come June, making an already steep sales curve even steeper. Landscapers are looking to get a fourth or fifth year out of their mowers. If you’re one of those “glass half full” people, you might ignore these types of truths and fail to plan accordingly. On the other hand, if you’re of the “glass half empty” variety, you might fail to see the opportunity that exists in the way of after-sale service and customer relationship building.

To effectively manage a business today, you need to recognize that “half full” and “half empty” are the same thing. Threats and opportunities co-exist, and each must be managed accordingly. Start by learning as many facts as possible about your business and the market you compete in—that will help take some of the emotion out of things.