Place your bets!

Place your bets!

Ladbroke’s odds for no overall majority in the general election were 1/5 on 25 March 2015. (A successful £1 bet would return £1.20).

Meanwhile the odds on two general elections in 2015 have shortened to 7/2.

So why would I, as a Finance Director, be quoting betting odds to you?

Here’s why…

I regularly come across businesses where decisions are waiting. There is an air of baited breath right now. “Let’s wait a couple of months for the election to be out of the way and then we’ll know the answer as to what to do”.

But suppose they wait a couple of months and they still don’t get a clear answer? They will be 2 months further down a road of uncertainty and possible negative outcomes.

To supplement betting odds, the May 2015 election website (:

//">, based on polling to 23 March at time of writing, is predicting a hung parliament. You can play around with the assumptions on the website but under most sensible scenarios from where we start, it looks like a hung parliament. The problem is there would not appear to be a sensible coalition that would yield a majority.

That’s why the odds of a second election are shortening. And if there is no overall majority even with a coalition and we have to wait for a second election in 2015, are businesses going to put off key decisions for most of the year? More importantly – is it a wise decision to wait to take any actions?

What if your competitors don’t wait? What if they plan their year ready to adjust to the various possible scenarios? Will they steal a march?

If it’s not postponing until the outcome of the general election, there is plenty of other uncertainties to wait for clarity:

Greece and the euro zone, Russia and the Ukraine, oil and commodity prices, virus outbreaks, and so on. Risk never ends – it just moves from one to another to another.

That is why business planning goes hand in hand with risk management – not betting. It relies on considering outcome scenarios and preparing for each reasonable eventuality. They may not be global economic uncertainties. They may be new market factors or competitive threats.

The point is to consider and plan and then getting running. Now. And watch for which scenario is playing out and following that branch of your plan.

After all there are only two certainties in life. Neither are pleasant and both are inevitable.

So living to the full with uncertainty wins hands down for me. As Wayne Gretzky said “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. But as an entrepreneur you know that.

If you would like help with a proactive approach to managing uncertainty and exploiting opportunities whilst others wait and see, please give us a call on 01235 838543 for a free, no obligation, initial consultation.


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