From the January 2002 issue of Entrepreneur

Wouldn't it be great if we all had a crystall ball we could gaze into and know-really know-what was going to happen next? Well, we can't-at least, most of us don't have that ability. But a few people are gifted that way-so gifted, they make a living advising clients about what they see. Now, I understand many people don't believe psychics can possibly know anything, and if you're one of those, fine; you can read this just for fun (or turn the page). But if you're even slightly curious about what a few professional psychics predict for 2002, read on.

I want to thank my friend Elaine S. Peck for sharing her own insights as well as those of her business consultant colleagues Georgia Hunt and Carroll Aieleen. (I talked to Elaine at the beginning of November.)

RL: What's the outlook for 2002?

ESP: Things will get worse before they get better. 2002 is a year of reckoning. In business, it will be the survival of the fittest. You can look at 2002 as a sort of turnaround year. But be cautious. It's time to get back to basics. Find out what's important to people-what they need, not what they want.

There are many lessons to learn before we start to recover. People got spoiled in 2000. 2001 was the wake-up call; it's like we were hit by a tsunami. But after February 28, 2002, economic changes will start to surface. The United States will lead the world out of the global recession, and it's likely California will set the pace here in the United States.

RL: Are there any lessons we can learn from the last recession in the late 1980s and early '90s?

ESP: Obviously, business 10 years ago is not like business today. And business today will not be like business 10 years from now. We have to stop holding on. Too many people are holding on to old ideas. We have to pay attention to everything that's going on around us in order to move forward. If you want to start a business this year, do it after March 1. But make sure you do your homework and check everything carefully-who you're doing business with, where you're setting up shop.

RL: Are there any types of businesses you see leading the way?

ESP: Food, for one. Since 9/11, people have been eating more. And entertainment-type businesses, like music and computer games, will thrive. In fact, we'll see a revival of the arts. It's all part of trying to escape.

RL: Any specific business trends?

ESP: There will be more mergers, especially for small businesses. Others will cluster together in order to survive.

All businesses [big and small] will start to be dom- inated by people who came of age in the 1960s. Many brilliant minds will emerge, offering new ideas and concepts. [Consumers] are smarter than ever before. They want the truth; they want innovation.

RL: Everywhere you go today, nearly everyone you talk to-we're all so uptight. When will we be able to relax? It seems like we're all, as the book title said, waiting to exhale.

ESP: We need to find the joy again. People want to have fun; as I said earlier, they're seeking to escape. Many will hunker down with family and friends, but in 2003, we'll see people emerging from their cocoons.

RL: So if we can hold on until 2003, it'll be all right?

ESP: There will be a new dawn in 2003, and it will lead to amazing things in the next 50 years.

RL: Any final words of wisdom?

ESP: We need to be quieter this year. Once we clear the noise, we'll be able to get the information we need.

RL: So the answers will be in the sounds of silence?

ESP: Yes, but it's up to each one of us. We all need to take charge of our own individual universes. And then we should reach out and share, both physically and verbally. Each of us should resolve, "Let it begin with me."