Forecasting in the Time of Cholera

business guy freak out

Things are tough, but it’s a Boom Time for stock photography of people in business attire freaking out

Talking to my friends, peers and contacts in various channels, I’ve realized that we’re all facing similar challenges. I mean, obviously. Who isn’t?

The challenge I want to address here is planning for the future.

We’re all making our way through a period in which the precedent was before our lifetimes, so we have very few guideposts to help us navigate and make sense of it. In the past two months in my market, there’s been a sudden rush of business as restrictions were eased. The underlying reasons for that are up for debate, such as pent-up demand from people who’ve been housebound for three months and really, really want to spend some money.

Okay, great. But when we start to look forward that’s where it gets tricky.

Will the pandemic get better or worse? Will revenue keep rising, or crash again? And in either case, what does that mean for your business? How do you forecast? How do you budget? How do you plan? What’s going to happen next? For retailers, how do you forecast for back to school? Who knows? The fall iPhone launch? Hard to say. Black Friday? No idea.

At the risk of sounding over-dramatic, what happens next is anybody’s guess. Will there be another wave of lockdowns? Vampires? Zombies? Giant meteor?

It’s really hard to forecast and plan for the future with this much uncertainty hanging over our heads.

Many companies, even big companies whose decisions are heavily driven by data are taking each week as it comes right now, and doing their best to be on top of the current trend. But ultimately they’re still being reactive.

See related  Do We Need to Revisit Standards?

I’m not sure what else anyone can do at this point, except buckle up.