Is it time to plan?

I was reading an article on this morning titled Penny’s billion-dollar bet.  Penny’s, one of the earliest adopters of ecommerce among large retail chains, has experienced flat sales the last few years.  They are now planning and investing in a new ecommerce platform to grow their online channel to over 2.5 Billion.  Yes that is a “B”.  (when you get into Billions and Trillions, that just boggles the mind doesn’t it.

The article brought to mind something I’ve learned and been told over the years.  I can’t exactly remember who or where I heard it but it’s stuck with me.  In down times, you prepare, you plan, you build for the future.  Right now the economy isn’t all the great, but do we just sit here and take it?  Have you been doing that?

Now is the time to plan, to invest, to build your next big thing.  Now is the time to push forward your new ideas.  This concept also plays out historically.  Many of the large and successful firms we all know today, were started during the great depression.  Did you even know business were successful then?  The difficult economic times aren’t always dismal and dreary.  They can be the perfect time to try out your ideas.  If your next big thing works during this economic climate, imagine how it will be when things turn around.

It’s almost counter-intuitive, to invest millions, maybe hundreds of millions when no one is buying, you are facing increased pressure from Amazon and other retailers and this general economic malaise.  But JCPenny doesn’t see it that way.  Now is the time to re-tool, revamp and position yourself for the future.

A couple questions for you – are you cowering in the corner and just trying to survive or are you like JC Penny, investing in the future to build your business.  What have you been avoiding that could lead to a more successful venture in 2011, 2012 and beyond?

I’d love to hear your comments.

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