Last week at Foley’s Emerging Technologies Conference, I heard experts talk about the state of the economy and how it’s impacting businesses. What I heard was “nothing new.” Well, that’s not entirely true. We heard that the economy was so unrealistically positive the last few years, that many people lost their common sense and perspective. The risky ideas that floated along on cushy funding (from a variety of sources) are falling through their clouds now. And no one wants to invest in a business now unless it has a solid plan with a solid team. Really? Why does this make sense only now and not before?

Unfortunately, many businesses and people will be affected by the failures of others — collateral damage caused by overly-optimistic and profit-blinded business leaders. We all need to buckle down and ride out the storm now.

What’s encouraging to me is that successful businesses with realistic business plans and positive cash flows will most likely continue to do well. And innovative new business ideas really need to be well thought out before moving forward with them. Good products, good service, and good ethics will prevail.

I believe it’s easier to learn from our mistakes than it is to learn from our successes. And we’re all going to get a whole lot wiser.