The long term view of the first quarter

No one can say the first three months of this year haven’t been action-packed. And for some, it’s been emotional. In January Carillion went under but GBP surged against the USD, reaching more than $1.40 for the first time since the June 2016 referendum. In February we had our best Winter Olympics yet, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched its rocket (and his Tesla) into space. In March we learned that the Brits are not sheep where fashion’s concerned, as 76% of us buy what suits us, not ‘what’s on trend’ (Kantar World Panel) and, surprisingly for many, we also learned about the importance of sandpaper on a cricket ball to generate reverse swing. And then there’s always Brexit.

But it would be remiss of us not to mention President Trump. And here’s some good news from the US: stock markets have hit record highs, oil prices remain low, consumer and small-business confidence is buoyant, and inflation is under control. President Trump may be the most unpopular UK president ever, and his staff churn rate may be particularly high, but economic expansion has been steady.

If the business of running a country has firm foundations, it makes everything else operate more smoothly. Same goes for the business of running a business. But when companies focus on short-term prospects and quarterly returns to please shareholders, at the expense of the long term objectives, then the foundations are unlikely to remain rock solid. We agree with Jeff:

“Proactively delighting customers earns trust, which earns more business from those customers, even in new business arenas. Take a long-term view, and the interests of customers and shareholders align.” Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon