From the CEO

From the CEO

Navigating stormy waters 

As we face the unknown financial road ahead, it’s useful to people reflect on the most recent major economic downturn, the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of more than a decade ago. Officially spanning form late 2007 to mid-2009, it took several more years for employment and the economy to stabilise to previous levels. It is important for us to look at the business successes and failures from this challenging time, and to learn from them.  

Diversify your customer base 

If a company has only one or two segments of customers, regardless of how successful it may be at the time, that can be a risky venture. It is best to have diversified income streams and establish multiple industries and types of customers that can be serviced. That way, the business will continue to exist if any of them fall away. 

Strengthen your operating systems 

One of the key factors for businesses that survive a downturn is the presence of a strong operating system. It is not just about the system itself, but also having people with a good knowledge of the system who can effectively implement it. These are individuals who understand how the numbers work and how to run the business in an efficient way. 

Cash is king 

It is fine to use debt to get into a business, and this can certainly be a frequent practice. However, it is important to preserve cash and reduce debt as soon as possible. Too much leverage in an economic downturn is a problem. Just think of Virgin Airlines. 

When a business owner makes money, one of the things they will want to do is to reduce their debt load as quickly and effectively as possible. 

Always be prepared 

Business owners should be prepared for what is coming next, even if they do not know what that will be. To a certain extent, they need to be worried about it, so they do not become overly comfortable where they are. Like a good chess player, they should anticipate a move a step or two ahead of time. It is important to have a contingency plan and be flexible in how to respond. 

Remember that change is inevitable and that we must learn to accept it, adapt to it and embrace it. 

Remember that change is inevitable and that we must learn to accept it, adapt to it and embrace it.” 

Seize the opportunity 

During tough times, some people panic and think the sky is falling. Others look at the situation as one of opportunity. They see a time of less competition and a greater chance to consolidate ownership in a marketplace. There are new advantages, such as cheaper real estate. Larger, stronger organisations will buy out the weaker ones, and position themselves for greater success in the future. 

Warren Buffett said, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” This is the time where savvy people start planting trees.  

Lead the way 

Being a leader involves making continuous choices, so it can be difficult to determine the right route, especially if it feels like all eyes are pointed in your direction. The first step is having all the information necessary to make a decision. Then, it is all about strategy and data. 

Be prepared with a sound strategy and solid data so that any decision-making is rooted in concrete facts and a plan. Although there’s always room for gut instinct, concrete data and a plan to follow will always be easier to make a case for. 

Winston Churchill once said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” What the wartime British Prime Minster was trying to convey is that dramatic change inevitably uncovers fresh insight, and points to opportunities for growth.  

Crises, setbacks, downturns, bad luck and slowdowns are inevitable. They have happened before and will again, despite our best efforts. Yet if we learn from the past, we won’t be condemned to repeat it.  

Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH

ecolibrium october-november

This article appears in ecolibrium’s october 2022 issue

Want to read more?


Click here to view our archive of issues and features.


Become an AIRAH member or subscribe to Ecolibrium.

Mair takes top Testo job

Mair takes top Testo job

Testo has appointed Jason Mair as its new managing director, and says the team is looking forward to continued success and partnerships utilising his leadership and extensive experience.Mair was formerly head of sales for SICK Pty Ltd, responsible for sales across...

ASHRAE issues global agenda

ASHRAE issues global agenda

The final report from the ASHRAE Global HVAC&R Summit held in Istanbul, Turkey last October has been released by the US‑based engineering association.“The Summit was designed to create an environment of collaboration and strategic dialogue to address the critical...

WRAP artist – meet Robert Holovka, M.AIRAH

WRAP artist – meet Robert Holovka, M.AIRAH

Ecolibrium shoots the breeze with the Melbourne-based director and founder of WRAP Engineering, Robert Holovka, M.AIRAH.Specialty Multi-discipline engineer, specialising in mechanical engineering. Passions The initial concept phase of any building design – when...

Wood that it could

Wood that it could

By embracing the Passivhaus standard, a new apartment building in Palma, Spain, classifies as an nZEB (nearly zero energy building).   Paseo Mallorca 15 is a 10-apartment block in the main thoroughfare of Palma, capital of the Spanish island of Mallorca (Majorca), not...

The comfort of family

The comfort of family

The development of a sophisticated control system for an iconic home in Melbourne’s leafy suburbs has not only provided greater comfort to its occupants but broken new ground in predictive climate control systems. Sean McGowan reports on a house that has been home to...

Trish Hyde named as new AIRAH CEO

Trish Hyde named as new AIRAH CEO

A seamless transition to the Institute’s new Chief Executive is in place. Following a detailed recruitment process, the AIRAH Board has appointed Trish Hyde to the role of AIRAH Chief Executive. Hyde replaces Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH, who announced his impending...

Reliable Controls advertisement