Undetermined Goals Can Never Be Reached
Where are You Going?
What Business are You In?
It seems like a simple enough question. What business are you in? When I ask clients this, the answer is rarely correct. Of course too many come back being too smart by half, with "I'm in the people business." Really? How much does being in the people business make you, I usually ask and get a really dumbfounded look in return. But if they think about it, what it is they actually do to make money, they find some more answers instead of just more questions.
The construction industry has been reeling for several years. I have worked with a number of folks who's jobs were dependent on more construction going forward - from timber companies to engineered wood companies to actual contracting companies to realtors to bankers to trucking and rail companies. Many of these individual companies did not consider where in any scheme they were a part of any business other than their own niche. Because of their self-imposed limit on their sight - their vision became foggy and they lost sight of where they make their money and how to keep something going.
When life give you lemons, as the cliche' goes, you make lemonade, right? So when the bottom falls out of the real estate market, how do you know the price of houses just dropped from $300,000 in a neighborhood to $100,000 in that same neighborhood? Because the houses in that neighborhood sell for $100,000 now. Ok, that sounds like I'm trying to be flippant, but I assure you I am not. This is a real situation where my discussion with some realtors was that they may as well quit and start greeting at Walmart. I asked why and the answer was because the market had just gone away. Really? Gone away? Or had the market they had been dealing in simply changed.
What they had been used to was putting a young executive in their BMW and driving them into THE neighborhood de joir where the executive would say I need something from $300-900,000 and they would show them three houses and they would buy one of them. Banking would be handled quickly by the local bank that did this kind of loan - the banker would send over "their" appraiser and BOOM they sold a house, period. Commission earned and on to the next executive and sale.
The change was made by some of the people very adeptly in the industry. They knew what business they were in and where they made their money. It was NOT in selling a person a home, it was providing a client a property to purchase that met their need - or was to sell a property for a client that was a burden on the current portfolio. Burden on the portfolio - real estate - how in the world could that be?
Recognizing what is going on in the industry and reacting in a planned way to take advantage of abilities and resources that are readily available is acceptable adaptation. Deciding on a whim because you heard "Joe" is going to go into the real estate management business that you should have Sally start your real estate management business is NOT planning for adaptation. There are pitfalls in any diversion of resources and can be devastating at worst and disruptive at best. Having the knowledge base or spending the resources to gain them take time and money that could be used in other areas. Being sure of the reason and a plan to proceed is at a minimum the first step.
When the first signs of the housing market weakening were apparent, some realtors started investigating terms they had heard in real estate training but never thought they would need to know how to handle them. Terms like short sale, foreclosure, rent in lieu of foreclosure - just knowing "in lieu of" anything was a new term. These same realtors began looking into REIT funding (Real Estate Investment Trust) as possible deals may present themselves and they wanted to have their money ready. These realtors started early talking to bankers they had normally been able to get favorable financing from to get an idea of what may happen "if."
So when all those houses were foreclosed on or brought to short sale, or needed to sell at gigantic reductions, only a select few realtors knew anything about how to handle these sales. They were the ones clued in on how to handle them and who to be in touch with. When the deal was truly a great opportunity they already had their investment money lined up to purchase the property for later sale and profit. The others didn't know what business they were in and are greeting people at Walmart.
The Affordable Care Act became law, at this time, about three years ago. It was signed into law by President Barrack Hussein Obama after significant debatable political maneuvers. In three years the plan to create the means to sign up for the new product was to cost taxpayers $92 million. Now three years hence the price tag for just the software that after weeks of being offered, doesn't work, has cost the taxpayer over $620 million. What business is the government in? It has Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA so you would naturally expect they might have a clue as to how to do this. But wait - Medicare and Medicaid are administered by the states, not the Federal government. The VA does work to some extent, not perfect by any means; but it works probably because it is in part by the military. Being in a business that isn't part of your charter without proper planning and development cannot be fixed just because you have unlimited finances. In this case, just where are all the decisions being made - and who is affected?
When it comes to the healthcare debacle, the depth and breadth of the process development may never be known, totally, but it is huge. When you take over 1/6th to 1/7th of the economy of the largest economy in the history of the world, there are a lot of dollars, sticky palms, and some controlling individuals with a lot of power. Closed door decision making, lawless actions by individuals that are not called into question by a questionable Department of Justice that is tied to a sleezy at best IRS and communicates with all of the world with spooks at the NSA. But this is just healthcare, isn't it? It is power, raw, power and nothing much less. From the general public's view, the question remains, how do I set my goals so they mean something when there is a moving target with no known base? Impossible to be sure.
Here are a couple questions to throw out there. What is the real goal of the ACA (affordable? care act)? What does this do for insurance companies, their employees, their investors, their insured if everything they can offer is regulated, identical to another company's offering, and limited to what it can charge in both directions? Who wins in this? What are their long term goals as insurance companies? What happened to the goal to insure 31 million uninsured Americans? According to all studies, 5 years from today there will be at least that number of uninsured. What about the "pre-existing conditions" being insured? It turns out the condition may now be able to be insured, but the deductible and the cost of medications make it as bad or worse than it was prior to the ACA. The lie, and it has been proven to be a lie, of keeping your plan or your doctor by President Obama, also caused over 6 million people to lose their plan and their doctor - while only 3 million have initially signed up for ACA insurance. Net loss of 3 million that were previously insured. So really, what is the goal? One thing, power and control, period. No, wait there is more.
Societal change is also there, except for some of the most elite, the folks that go on 29 or more vacations in 5 years for example and wear $12,000 gowns for one evening at the expense of someone else. This societal change will "even it up." That is even though someone may have the money to pay for a procedure that is needed, it will be illegal for a doctor to perform the procedure if not approved by a bureaucrat, period. This way, the lowest income person has the same chance at getting a knee replacement as a multimillionaire even though the multimillionaire is funding the low income individual's subsidy! Is that America? Hasn't been until now, and that is the goal.
Now take this to your own situation. It is hard to conceive what is going on at the level that it is being performed in the US today. What field are you in? It is all being affected so setting long term goals is becoming increasingly difficult. Are you in the construction business? Chemical business? Agriculture? Technology? Energy? Travel/Leisure? Not one industry is not being changed and some changes will be irreparable. If it isn't the EPA, IRS, or NSA working against you with some kind of new regulations that you are sure to not understand and therefore inadvertently violate, it will be something to do with hiring non-documented workers, providing healthcare or fees and taxes that will drive you out of business.
What can a company or individual do in this kind of situation? Write your Congressman, Senator, and even the President and let him know how you feel. Write your newspaper, blog, make posts on Facebook and Twitter that indicate your stand and how things are affecting you. Get political - listen to the candidates this year and vote your pocketbook, your job, your future this November. If you want a goal - it should be to take the country back from the idealogs and remember the intent of the Constitution. If you really want to be able to plan ahead, design a retirement, build something for your children, then things have go to change and apathy isn't going to make it happen.
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