Back in November I attended a Shirlaws event, hosted by Darren Shirlaw, called “Catch the Second Wave”. Anyone familiar with Shirlaws will know that this event wasn’t about honing your surfing technique but how to really prepare our businesses, and ourselves, in order to fully capitalise on the upturn when it inevitably happens.

One of the key learnings I took from the day was just how easy it is to see where we are at any point in the economic cycle and once we know where we are we can easily predict what’s going to happen next. So there’s no mystery, no uncertainty and no nasty surprises! Just good old facts and historical data. Phew, what a relief, I hadn’t realised it could be so easy and because I love forecasting and having a strong feel for what’s coming this was music to my ears and really inspired me to learn more about the markets and economic climate.

That isn’t actually what I want to share in this blog though (more on that later), what I want to share now are the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ parts….

Darren explained that we’re currently in the plateau period of a W (or double dip) recession which means that we’re in the middle part of the W. An approximate time line can be applied to the W cycle, beginning in July 2007 where the climate went into decline until March 2009, when it picked up for 6 months to September 2009, and the expectation is that this flat period will last to September 2011, before declining again for a 6 month period to March 2012.


The good news is, that after the 2nd dip we’ll be in the upturn, or the” 3rd wave” (or “good times” as I like to call it!) and as the trends tell us, this should last until at least 2019, maybe even onto 2023.

This is the most significant period of our business life and we will be ready to fly!

In order to realise our true potential it’s important that not only our business is ‘match fit’, but that everyone in our business is the best they can be too.

Rather than running out of steam and feeling shattered after this long period of ‘bad news’, it’s our intention for our team to feel energised, capable and ready for new things.

Manage Energy

We will remain aware of the energies in the business; of the team and of our clients, partners and suppliers alike. Energy’s like a commodity and we need lots of good, clean energy to stay profitable and fun to work with.

Building Capability

We’ve just started our ‘Building Capability’ project which brings rigour to our business and ultimately increases its value. We’re using a brilliant measurement tool that helps us identify areas in the business that we can improve upon so that we have our maximum score in time for the upturn.

Risk Management

Reducing the risk that we’re exposed to is still a key priority for us and we now have a balanced strategy in place that protects our business whilst still offering choice and good value to our clients.

New Ideas

We’re always open to new ideas and innovations and will hopefully go into the upturn with something new to offer – no pressure there then!!

Am I Ready?

I would personally like to be in the best shape I can be, mentally and physically as I really do see that this is THE most significant period for me in my role as Managing Director. So part of my ‘match fit’ plan is to start running again and get a decent time in a 10K run – watch this space!