War, inflation, supply chain problems: Politicians, companies and startups will have to change course and rethink in the new year. This is the only way we can become an innovation tiger again.
A cruel crisis cocktail has been brewing this year: war, inflation, supply chain problems, corona late effects. One catastrophe followed the next. Each crisis, with the exception of the war, would probably be manageable individually – but not in combination.
As a result, we have an unprecedented energy crisis. The nuclear turnaround in Merkel’s policy has made us totally dependent on oil and gas. Germany has made a big mistake with its years of extreme naivety towards untrustworthy states.
In the case of inflation, too, there was no timely countermeasures and the turnaround in interest rates was much too late. We have thus exceeded the sound barrier of what is reasonable, currently 10 percent inflation, it is the highest cost increase in 40 years. These are all fatal decisions that have dire consequences.
We must finally learn from these negligent mistakes:
1. Create independence: Above all in the energy supply. Before the start of the Ukraine war, we got more than 50 percent of our gas from Russia, 27 percent from Norway and 21 percent from the Netherlands. The reduction of Russian gas must take place and the supply of oil and gas must increasingly come from other countries.
2. Use renewable energies: In order to achieve the ambitious EU climate goals, faster growth will be necessary in the future. For example through biomass, photovoltaic systems, wind energy and solar thermal energy.
But for this we need inventions – Germany must become an innovation tiger again! We have to tie in with the great inventions that came from Germany and changed the world – from the computer to the X-ray machine and the car.
3. A solid financial policy: The traffic light creates debts of a dizzying amount: 300 billion, which are disguised as expenditure in shadow budgets, as well as new debt of almost 50 billion euros. And then there are the cheeky expenses, such as for an expansion of the Federal Chancellery for 777 million euros. The German seat of government would then be larger than the White House and all other centers of power in the world. And not to speak of the many hundreds of millions of consultant fees in the interior, transport and finance ministries. A real slap in the face of the voters.
4. New ministries: A real future ministry would be helpful with all these construction sites – in order to implement forward-looking measures. Instead of many crisis summits, I would like to see a solution summit. Because there is a lot to do in the new year!
The start-up gang: Our greatest adventure – from the idea to success
Through my 40 years of entrepreneurial activity, I am now crisis-tested and pass on my experience to my founders, especially when it comes to major challenges.
So what do I advise entrepreneurs in times of crisis?
1. Don’t save in the wrong places: Stay away from sales and marketing! Sales bring in sales, all other departments cost. And with startups: switch to life support functions and sales activities. Now “From burn to earn” applies. The days of “it doesn’t matter if it’s a profit or not” are over.
2. Set clear priorities: stop what is superfluous and concentrate on the essentials. That’s why I advise all of my founders: Delete all the “nice to haves” and concentrate only on the “must haves”.
3. Don’t panic: In the event of danger, don’t close your eyes, open them wide and act. One of the most common mistakes is ill-considered decisions. Right now we have to keep a cool head and not avoid unpleasant situations. Even if that means ending business relationships that no longer really pay off.
4. The employees are the key to success: Even in times of crisis, employees should be retained. And if the company’s situation allows it, they can also be financially rewarded, for example with the tax-free inflation compensation bonus of up to 3,000 euros, which every company can pay its employees. In my company, I paid them out in full with the November salary to everyone – with the exception of the managing directors.
Carsten Maschmeyer, born in 1959, is an entrepreneur, international investor, consultant and author. With his Maschmeyer Group, he participates in successful growth companies in future-oriented industries and is happy to pass on his entrepreneurial experience. Since 2016 he has been an investor in the TV show »Die Höhle der Löwen«. Supporting young founders has long been a priority for him. With his first three books, Carsten Maschmeyer became a bestselling author. He is married to the actress Veronica Ferres and lives in Munich.