Turmoil and Opportunity

Proceed with caution, but proceed

David Iwinski Jr.

Managing Director




David Iwinski Jr.

Managing Director

Blue Water Growth


US Mobile: +1 412 352 7997

China Mobile: +86 183 2128 4064

Skype ID: david.iwinski.bluewatergrowth

Turmoil and Opportunity

Proceed with caution, but proceed

By David Iwinski

There is no question that global markets are currently in a state of flux. Britain having voted for “Brexit” is putting strain on the European Union, along with problems tied to the refugee crisis. In Asia, a combination of Chinese expansion in the South China Sea and threats of missile tests by North Korea add to the uncertainty. Russian adventurism in the Ukraine has helped to destabilize the region and in Latin America, controversy has embroiled Brazil, Venezuela and numerous other countries.


Put these all together, and the number one question I am asked by partners and clients throughout our global market is “What do I do under these challenging conditions?” In times of uncertainty, there are a few core practices that will guide you through the rough waters.


Even in times of controversy, business continues. No matter how serious a global economic crisis may be, remember that in times of global economic depression and even war, fortunes can be made. People still need the necessities of life, and businesses are still looking for partnerships to provide both stability and growth. If you are working in a country that is undergoing significant change, your stable on-going business with local partners may make you an even more valuable resource.


Be adaptable and flexible on tactics. If changes in currency policy in one foreign market suddenly create uncertainty or even devaluation, rather than take a financial hit, perhaps you can turn it to your advantage by changing payment terms, adjusting prices or even cross-trading other physical goods that you can sell or market domestically. Let tough times bring out your creativity!


Stay the course on strategy. When things start to turn upside down, there is often a temptation to scrap a carefully honed strategy and become reactive. Part of the problem with this approach is that the so-called “crisis” might be a tempest in a teapot and blow over a few days, but your offshore partners and suppliers might now question your commitment. Adapt if you must, but don’t change a good plan because of uncertain circumstance.


When politics are in disarray, your relationships are critical. The most critical factor in getting through a difficult time are the key long-term relationships that you carefully crafted and established in your critical markets. Increase the tempo of communication, increase the frequency of face-to-face visits and engage with your foreign partners to find ways to solve problems rather than be at the mercy of conditions.


Go and see for yourself. Many times in my career I have watched the US media play up stories of global conflict, only to find that when I arrived in the country, that the true level of anxiety had been greatly exaggerated. Before you start making wholesale changes in response to a reported calamity, jump on a plane and you might find little has changed on the ground.


Franklin D. Roosevelt, facing down the twin challenges of the Great Depression and World War II simultaneously, once said, “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” He was absolutely correct. No business can expect fair winds and smooth sailing all the time. Master the techniques of dealing with adversity and proceed confidently.

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