February 1 is the first day of the lunar, or Chinese, new year. I’m excited because this year is a “Year of the Tiger.” And a tiger year should be a very good year for entrepreneurs, startups, and small business owners, whether or not you’re Chinese.
Each year of the Chinese lunar calendar is associated with one of the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac. According to tradition, the traits of each year’s animal foretell both the characteristics of people born in that year and trends for the coming year. Tiger Years are particularly auspicious. After all, what do you think of when you think of a tiger? You think of strength, boldness, fearlessness, dominance.
Now, I don’t believe in astrology, but over the years I’ve come to see the traits of the animal for that Chinese New Year remarkably aligned with the track of my business life.
For instance, both last year and 2009 were years of the Ox. The ox was a fitting symbol for tough times when it takes a lot of hard work to just survive. So it’s not surprising that Ox years found an economy reeling from a pandemic and another one dealing with the Great Recession. In my business in those years, knowing I’d need to be an Ox, my team and I worked extra hard, and we survived and thrived.
But this year—watch out—we’re all roaring back! A tiger year is a terrific symbol for a year of recovery and expansion. It’s a year to go for it. 2022 should be a great year for startups, business expansion, launching new products, taking on new directions. Tigers, Chinese tradition says, also drive off the threats to a household—and by extension, one hopes, the threats to our businesses.
For those of us who own small businesses—or are thinking of starting a business—the beginning of the Year of the Tiger means we should prepare for a year destined for boldness. It’s a great year for thinking large and taking chances. It’s a year of big wins, but also potentially of big losses. It’s a year—as those of us who love baseball would say—for swinging for the fences.
What should you expect in your business in the coming year, a tiger year?
- risk taking
- speaking up against injustice
In particular, be on the lookout for:
- Opportunities. Especially in a time when many of your competitors may be weakened or frightened, are there openings that you can exploit? Tigers are courageous.
- Team building. We’re currently in the most significant shift in the workplace in my lifetime. We’ve got the rise of remote work, labor shortages, the Great Resignation and early retirements. This is the time for new thinking about your team and how to motivate and retain them.
- New product development. In a year of creativity, are there new products or services that you can introduce with significant financial potential? Tiger years are perfect for innovation.
- Impulsiveness. Be careful! The downside of all that tiger courage is that you may jump into things without thinking them through. Be bold, but be smart.
- Seeking equity and justice. Tigers are known for their desire for fairness. How can you bring more fairness into your business, life, and community?
Since the Chinese new year is always a festival associated with money, this year is doubly oriented toward financial well-being. In fact, the traditional Chinese new year greeting focuses on material wealth, and the traditional gift to be given is a red envelope containing money.
If you’re also born in a tiger year, this is a particularly auspicious year for you. Tigers are known for their courage, willingness to take risks, desire for challenge, and hating to be told what to do to. Some people born in the Year of the Tiger include Queen Elizabeth, Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder, Leonardo DiCaprico.
The year of the tiger is a year of power, passion and daring. It bodes well for financial gains, new enterprises, and growth. It’s a year for entrepreneurs. And it’s a year for you. Go for it! And gung hay fat choy—or loosely translated “Congratulations and may you have a prosperous new year.”
Copyright Rhonda Abrams, 2022
This article originally ran in USA Today on January 25, 2022