Hold on tight: here comes the year of the monkey. And it should be a great, if tumultuous, year for small business owners and entrepreneurs. If you’re just starting a business, it portends to be a particularly auspicious year for launching new ventures.
February 8 marks the beginning of the Chinese, or lunar, new year. Celebrated throughout Asia, and observed by nearly 20% of the people on the planet, lunar new year is a major celebration, with festivities lasting for weeks.
In Asian tradition, each year in a 12-year cycle is associated with an animal. The forecast of conditions for the coming year, and children born in that year, embody the characteristics of the animal associated with that year. And one of five elements associated with each year. In 2016, the element is fire, intensifying the characteristics. The year beginning February 8 is considered the year of the Monkey. That’s good news, because monkey years are thought to be positive and optimistic. Indeed, the birth rate typically goes up in Asia during monkey years because parents want their children to have good fortune as well as the traits associated in Asian culture with monkeys.
Now, I’m not a believer in astrology, but I will say that historically my company’s performance has fairly well aligned with the forecast of Chinese years, at least for the past few years. In 2009, the year of the ox and also the year of the great recession, we realized we had to work really hard, plow new fields to survive and thrive. It worked. In 2010, the year of the tiger—considered to be one of the most auspicious of the lunar astrological cycle—we came roaring back.
So I’m excited about the year of the monkey because if ever a year was a year for entrepreneurs, it’s a monkey year. Monkeys traditionally are considered inventive, creative, playful, nimble, energetic but prone to move from thing to thing. Monkeys sound a whole lot like entrepreneurs.
Have you ever watched a monkey in the wild? I have. They are incredibly clever, tenacious and get what they want. On safari in Africa, we had to close tents tightly and carefully because the monkeys had figured out how to unzip even the toughest tent, take on even the toughest challenge. Left to their own devices, they would seize anything. They were fearless—even snatching food right from your hand if you weren’t careful. They thrive in packs, tend carefully to their young, and while loud and annoying, are also entertaining and productive.
Oh my goodness—that sounds just like the entrepreneurs I’m surrounded by here in Silicon Valley.
2016 portends to be a very auspicious year for entrepreneurs – especially those that are:
* Artistic or literary
* In the process of change or transformation
* Launching new products or projects
* Forging new partnerships
* In knowledge ventures or ventures requiring intelligence
* Nimble, able to adapt quickly
* Inventing or deploying new technology
* Playful, with a sense of fun
Businesses that should thrive in are those that are in fields such as:
* Entertainment and the arts
* Design fields and architecture
* Crafts, especially hand-made items
* Any types of new products or inventions
* Innovative new services
* Publishing and writing
* Sports, especially adventure sports
I suspect entrepreneurs who are primarily involved in trading or making deals rather than creating products or services—such as stock brokers, real estate agents, other brokers—may find this is a more challenging year.
In the year of the monkey anything can happen. Plans will be unsettled; change is a certainty. So expect the unexpected. Be prepared to respond quickly. Be nimble, like a monkey, and don’t grasp on too tightly to any one position.
Politically, it’s not surprising this is turning out to be such a crazy year. There’s lots of monkey business already going on in the Presidential race. Expect it to get even worse.
Some people born in year of monkey include: Leonardo da Vinci, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mick Jagger, Charles Dickens, George Lucas, Diana Ross, Julio Iglesias, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Simone de Beauvoir, Charlie Parker, and Annie Oakley.
So “Gung Hay Fat Choy”–the traditional Chinese new year’s greeting. Loosely translated, it means “Congratulations and may you have a prosperous new year.”
Copyright, Rhonda Abrams, 2016
This article originally ran in USA Today on February 5, 2016