Forecasting the economy is an important part of business planning. If you have sound notions about what's going to happen in the future, you can plan ahead to maximize the use of borrowed funds, gauge production to meet your customers' demands, and make the most of new markets, new sources of labor, and new product lines.

Economic forecasts are now easily available through many channels. The Internet and business media have popularized economics as a way of relating businesses to the world at large. Trends can also be forecast on a smaller scale, such as by industry or region. If you are involved in your business's finances, then economic forecasting will be your partner in planning the right long-term and short-term moves.

Action Plan
Monitor forecasts of the five major macroeconomic variables: inflation, unemployment, GDP, interest rates, and foreign exchange rates.
Assess the implications of these forecasts on your company's operations, marketing, and finance.

This material was excerpted from Chapter 5 of Financial Troubleshooting, by David H. Bangs Jr. and Michael Pellecchia.
Copyright © 1999 Goldhirsh Group Inc.