I was going for a walk along the waterfront this morning, looking out at a storm over the ocean, and like most people do in this situation, I wondered if the storm was headed my way. It brought to mind a lesson I learned from the late great Jim Rohn, which is to “think winter all summer”.
On the surface, this sounds a bit pessimistic, but it really is just good, practical, lifelong financial wisdom, and even the most optimistic among us should heed this advice. It is a reminder that even when business is going really well, at some point in the future, you are going to go through tough times – it is inevitable. By “thinking winter all summer”, you will make sure that when times are good, you are still preparing for the inevitable winter that will one day come.
Winters can come in a variety of forms. Maybe your business model will change unexpectedly (this happened for us on ebay many years ago). Maybe a new competitor will come into your niche and take away a lot of your sales. Maybe it will be recession (or worse!). There are so many things that can happen that are outside of your control, which is why it is so important to be prepared for when they happen.
It’s all a part of taking responsibility for everything that occurs in your life. If you go bankrupt one day during the next global financial crisis (or whatever your next winter might be), but you had the chance to adequately prepare (but didn’t), then the truth is – it’s your fault. The event itself might not be your fault, and you can tell everybody it’s not your fault, but the fact that you didn’t prepare properly, so it is definitely your fault.
So when business does start to go really well for you, make sure that you start preparing for your next winter. Winters can be scary, but they are also a great time to pick up cheap assets, and gain market share with your niches, as those who didn’t prepare go out of business.
For Tess and I, preparing for our next winter has not been easy, as the temptation to spend spend spend is growing daily (it’s certainly more fun than save save save), but we also know that if we play our cards right, our next winter could be the best thing that has ever happened to us. Make sure that the same is true for you!