If you wait for the bell to ring....

THEY DON'T RING A BELL AT THE TOP... OR AT THE BOTTOM. It was a talking head on NPR explaining that no one really knows for sure when the market peaks or hits bottom until it becomes clear sometime in the future.

 Wall Street traders waiting for the bell to sound

Wall Street traders waiting for the bell to sound

I got to thinking about whether this applies to business in general and specifically about any of our businesses. When is what we do MOST in demand and when does it decline and hit a bottom point that says it's time to get out or re-invent our business?

The economic downturn has washed out a lot of businesses – some good and still very relevant – and probably many whose time had come... and gone. The need that drove their creation and ascent waning and moving on to something else.

The problem is that no one rings a bell at the top, or at the bottom, to let us know. In school we were conditioned that a ringing bell means time to start or time to go. Do we subconsciously think those bells will sound for us as business leaders?

Transient

Can we count on the media to ring the bells for us?  One of my colleagues at Drexel often says, "If you wait to act on changing business conditions until you see them on the cover of Newsweek, you're in trouble."

And so sometimes as business people we just don't know. We don't know that we hung on too long. That we should have seen it coming. That it is time to look for a new hole in the marketplace that we can fill.

There's no bell. No bell to say, Time to go. Let's shift gears. Move on.

Maybe there needs to be a business that will ring the bell for us....