Creativity vs. Fear and the Triumph of Apple

The flood of bad news on economic instability around the world is generating constant fear for business owners trying to plan for future growth.  Yet if you look at history, many great enterprises and products were launched and thrived in bad economic times. Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice was one of many successful companies launched during the depression.  Publix Super Markets, founded in 1930, is the largest and fastest-growing employee-owned supermarket chain in the U.S. The economic turmoil of the 1973 oil crisis hit just after the launch of Federal Express, but didn’t deter it from establishing a brand new industry

More recently, our country was still reeling from the September 11 attacks when Steve Jobs unveiled the iPod in October 2001. It became one of the decade’s biggest success stories. In fact, the success of Apple’s handheld devices just this week resulted in its anointment as the new leader in technology, overtaking Microsoft as the world’s most valuable technology company. What if Apple had not taken that tremendous marketing risk in uncertain times?  It’s easy to forget that before the introduction of the ipod, Apple was believed to be on the path to extinction.

These success stories are important to remember as today’s business owners face difficult choices on whether to push forward or wait.  The American economy is turning around, but new turmoil in Europe is clouding the future, making it hard to guess the pace of the recovery as we go through global adjustments. The massive oil spill in the Gulf is just the latest environmental disaster that will impact our future economically. Still, one thing is clear – we will eventually turn around and there will be many winners and losers.  If you have a great idea or a new product, now may just be the right time to let go of your fears and help shape a brighter future!

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