Resolutions Revisited

Published on: 22:30PM Mar 30, 2010
Back in December I encouraged you to make the New Year’s resolution to not be frustrated by the markets in 2010. Have you since then asked yourself important “what if” questions, such as:
  • What if we encounter severe drought?
  • What if the market goes down a little or down a lot, up a little or up a lot?
  • What if it moves sideways?
  • What if China buys or stops buying?
  • And, what could happen that I haven’t thought about?
For some, frustration may already be mounting in the form of wet fields. While this in and of itself may not materially impact your marketing, it’s one more potential frustration that you can’t control. Any time of the year, weather can bring about frustration. The late harvest and the problems it caused are fresh in our minds. In fact, an unfortunate group of producers is still dealing with un-harvested crops.
It’s impossible for you to control any of the influencing factors that have been talked about in this blog—global markets, ethanol industry strategies, USDA numbers and more. The good news is, with a nod to Julius Caesar, you can control what you’ll do about those influencing factors if you ask yourself the crucial questions and prepare for the possibilities.
Julius Caesar is regarded as having been a brilliant strategist. He is known for considering unexpected possibilities and developing contingencies for them. I encourage you to take the same approach. Lay out all the possible scenarios that could impact markets and come up with strategies to address each of them. Survey your “battlefield” and determine in advance what could happen and prepare for it. If you do so, you’ll be well on your way to taking control of your marketing and avoiding frustration.
A great marketer will end up preparing for many scenarios that will never come true. This shouldn’t be interpreted as a waste of time. Focus on the end result, which is that at least one and probably more of the scenarios will come true. After all, you’ll be prepared to take advantage of them. You’ll be positioned to capture opportunity and protect against the potential killer loss.
You could say that Caesar suffered the killer loss. Apparently, he had not prepared for the possibility of his assassination. Ironically, neither had his assassins been strategic in thinking about how Caesar’s death would change the Roman Republic. This certainly shows that being prepared for the all possible outcomes is important!
History aside, if you haven’t asked yourself the tough questions and determined how you’ll prepare, you can still resolve to not be frustrated by the markets. It starts with this question: Would you rather guess where prices might go or be prepared for whatever the market might do?
Scott Stewart is president and CEO of Stewart-Peterson, a commodity marketing consulting firm based in West Bend, Wis. You may reach Scott at 800-334-9779, email him at [email protected].
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