2001: A Business Odyssey

Sign Language

Concepts don't have to be new to make waves in the current market. Though it's thousands of years old--and its popular roots date back to the 1960s--astrology is enjoying another wave of interest. According to a poll by public opinion market research firm Roper Starch Worldwide Inc., belief in astrology rose by 7 percent between 1988 and 1994, when 25 percent of respondents claimed to believe in the ancient art.

That's not news to Del Norwood, owner of Access Abilities Inc., an astrological consulting firm in Chicago. Even without aggressive marketing, she says, "The phones are constantly ringing." Norwood teaches classes and holds in-person consultations, but more than half her business is conducted by phone. She interprets natal charts, advises clients on favorable dates to start businesses or get married, and uses astrology to provide insights on key decisions. At $125 for a typical 90-minute consultation, Norwood's services are not for the skeptic. But fortunately, believers abound.

It also seems that, under the right circumstances, even skeptics can be won over. Arch Crawford combines rigorous technical analysis with astrological cycles to predict financial markets. The results? His $250-a-year newsletter, Crawford Perspectives, is among the top performers nationwide. Maybe that's why 1,000 issues go out monthly--to plenty of Wall Street types who don't believe in astrology but do believe in results. Crawford also maintains two telephone hotlines, which draw between 100 and several hundred calls a day.

"To beat out the other guys on Wall Street, you don't need a huge statistical advantage, just a slight edge," says Crawford. "A lot of big traders [subscribe to] my letter because they're interested in information that is off the main line."

Robert W. Cooper of research organization American Federation of Astrologers Inc. in Tempe, Arizona, says Crawford is part of a larger industry trend. "Astrologers used to be general practitioners," says Cooper, "but now we're seeing successful astrologers specializing in fields like finance and medicine."

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This article was originally published in the December 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: 2001: A Business Odyssey.

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