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Conmen, salesmen, and holy men.
My morning email included a doom and gloom prediction from a sky-is-falling blogger who writes about small business issues. I’ve excerpted some of his predictions for you here:
“The global economy is more fragile than ever, and the prospect of a financial collapse is starting to send shivers down the spines of even the most seasoned entrepreneurs…
Am I trying to scare you? Absolutely…
If you are burying your head in the sand about what’s coming – you aren’t being foolish. You’re being irresponsible…
As small business owners, we’re no strangers to adversity. But a full-blown financial collapse? That’s a different beast entirely…
Don’t let fear paralyze you…”
He goes on to tell you what you need to do immediately, finally ending with this:
“…a recession can be the best time to scale (and even exit) your business, creating generational wealth for yourself and providing exceptional opportunities for your team, but you have to have a concrete plan to make that happen. More on that later…”
OF course, “more on that later” is the invitation for you to buy whatever he’s selling.
But here’s the thing. This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about any more than the hundreds of economists who also get their financial prognostications wrong year after year after year.
Let’s be clear. If some random blogger knew with certainty when economic trends were going to shift – and how to profit from that news – they wouldn’t waste their time writing blogs trying to frighten you. Instead, they’d be investing their own money or cashing the Apple stock they bought in the late nineties.
Sure, it’s easy to say there’s a recession coming because there’s ALWAYS a recession coming. Years of economic history show us that. And conmen, salesmen, and holy men can read the data just as easily as you and I can.
And sooner or later, the old guy who scrawled “THE END IS NEAR” on a ratty sign or the religious zealot who preaches about the end of days will be right. But I wouldn’t bet on it being tomorrow.
You shouldn’t, either.
It reminds me of the fortune teller at the carnival who looks at random tea leaves, tarot cards, chicken bones, or the lines in your palm and promises to tell you what will happen in your love life. Truth is, If you stroll into their tent and they ask you your name and where you’re from, you should turn right around and walk out.
And it’s not just bloggers or fortune tellers either. Marketers of all stripes know that fear, confusion, and anger are great ways to get people to look up, pay attention, and react, regardless of whether those things are true or not.
Conmen, salesmen, and holy men.
It could be a salesman cautioning that if you don’t “SIGN NOW,” you’ll never get another chance at the bargain of a lifetime.
It could be a politician threatening that if you don’t “DONATE NOW,” forces are conspiring to take away your possessions, rights, and values.
It could be a religious leader evangelizing that if you don’t “REPENT NOW,” you’ll spend the rest of eternity roasting in hellfire.
But whatever they’re warning you about, often with exaggerated gestures and heightened emotional appeals, you can be sure there’s always something in it for them. Because regardless of the approach they use, the book they pound, or the outfit they wear, they all want the same thing – to get you to do something for them that you might not be willing to do otherwise.
It’s easier to sow fear than build confidence.
It’s easier to destroy something than to create something.
And it’s easier to produce obfuscation than clarity.
Or, as speaker of the House Sam Rayburn said, “Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one.”
Amy and I will be in Miami May 20 for a reunion of Daily Business Review staffers. I’ll give you a call when we are in the area.
We’d love to see you two, Phil.
It’s been WAY too long.
Yer exactly right. Fear sells better than rational analysis. At the end of every Chicken Little apocalyptic scenario is something someone who is hungry for your money has to sell you. Cheers.
Thank you Bruce! We totally agree however we do also believe that we may be having an economic downturn coming sooner rather than later! The good news is, when we prepare, we have many times grown our business in downturns!
It’s certainly coming Dennis. Three million dollar quest is when…
Bruce, as usual… you are dead on!!! Excellent post!
This comes back to the fact that “fear sells”. Ask a whole American political party and a certain purported “news” station that finds itself 750M poorer. Why has their stock not plummeted? Because their advertisers know fear brings viewers.
I tried to purchased an advisory business some years back. The Advisor had been short selling the market in all accounts for 3 years and loosing his butt. As I was enrolling people, they’d point out how different our view was in 2009-11 than the previous. I told them that he was correct, but not at this time. They were sold on the fear of losing all of their money because a black Democrat was president. We all know how wrong that was.
Even a stopped watch is right twice a day. Unfortunately, they are wrong for the other 1438 minutes of the day.
It makes for an unfortunate decision between doing what might work and what’s right, Richard. Thanks for weighing in.
Your perspective is correct. Ironically lead item this news cycle is Fox throwing down $785,000,000 for their chicken little ‘sky is falling’ approach of ‘white lies.’ Had to put the 0’s in as 785,000,000 reasons why those chicken lies don’t fly.
Website is 1st pass so under construction still…
It certainly seems like an enormous number when you spell it out Andrew.