The Tale of Two Cities

‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.’

Charles Dickens wrote The Tale of Two Cities in the 1800’s but it could have easily been written about what we are seeing today as people respond to COVID.  Is this the best of times or the worst of times?  Is this the spring of hope or the winter of despair?

After 100’s of discussions with current and future franchisees, it appears that today’s COVID world is both the best and the worst of times.  It offers unprecedented opportunities while also fostering fear and personal sense of inadequacy.  Be how can this be?  How can one thing be both the best and the worst?  Interestingly, COVID is not creating this dichotomy.  The origin of this dichotomy is within each of us.

Today, people are falling into two camps.  The first type of individual is the ‘Worst of Times’ person.  This person sees change, dislocation and uncertainty as a threat.  Their response is to wait, limit exposure and pray that the world returns to the way it was.  These folks will not do anything until the economy fully recovers, and the stock market is hitting new highs.  In 2009, the ‘worst of times’ people stayed on the sidelines until 2013 and did not regain any real confidence until 2016.

The second type of individual is the ‘Best of Times’ person.  This type of person has been waiting for change.  They have been looking forward to any type of dislocation.  They see these types of economic pullbacks as opportunities and it excites them.  They recognize that everything is on sale and they are chomping at the bit to find ways to take advantage of the situation.  In 2009, these individuals aggressively invested in businesses, real estate, and stocks.  By the time they got to 2016 they began to pull back on new investments.

From my experience, changing who you are is very difficult.  The gut reaction between fight or flight is deeply ingrained in each individual’s personality.  What I can tell you is buying low and selling high is a better wealth creation strategy than the inverse.  Everything is on sale right now.  Franchisors are offering discounted fees, landlords are much more accommodating, employees are excited about finding work and the amount of competition is decreasing.  The time to buy is when things are on sale.

Over the past 8 weeks I have seen a sea change in the type of person I am working with.  The ‘Worst of Times’ people have all run away to hide.  The ‘Best of Times’ people are blowing my phone up, energized and taking advantage of this unique moment in time.  If you are a Best of Times person, give me a call.  Let’s Talk.

Wishing you an exceptional June