Your New Start-Up

Zen and the art of recession survival.

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“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.”

So holds a Zen proverb. And as much as your expertise has certainly helped your company weather this exhausting financial crisis, with the new year almost upon us it may be time to try to regain the beginner’s edge. So put aside your hard-won wisdom, however briefly (say, for the time it takes to read this issue), and be receptive to the possibilities that 2011 will offer.

Why? Because your peers plan to. True, there are very few predictions of a profound turnaround, but the senior finance executives we’ve spoken to this quarter are shaking off their recession fatigue and vowing to make good things happen starting now. To help, we’ve asked all of our editors to report from their respective front lines with an eye toward providing you with critical intelligence that you can build into your growth strategies.

Senior editor for capital markets Vincent Ryan, for example, reports on a marked change in the capital markets (see “Multiple Choice“), where both debt and equity options are expanding so quickly it can almost make you ask, “Crisis? What crisis?” One expert, in fact, says that this is the most promising time for companies to raise money in almost 50 years.

If things are looking up out on the Street, they are also looking, well, different down in the data center. As senior editor for technology David McCann explains, companies large and small are moving quickly to embrace cloud computing (see “Be Clear about the Cloud“). It is, to revive the old cliché, a genuine paradigm shift, one that no CFO can afford to ignore. But ascending to the cloud is, as another Zen proverb says, a multidisciplinary effort posing many technical and financial challenges. (OK, that phrase won’t make it onto any 2011 Zen calendars, but that doesn’t make it any less true.)

We look at a number of other changes coming in 2011 as well, from new 401(k) investment choices to a pending shift in lease-accounting rules that could move hundred of billions of dollars onto corporate balance sheets.

So best of luck in the new year. Remember, it is a beginning, and you may do well to approach it like a beginner. After all, what CFO doesn’t dream of leading a start-up?

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