Growing Your Business During Tough Times

Worried about the recession? Remember that the Chinese symbol for “crisis” involves two elements: “danger” and “opportunity”. Employ these commonsense strategies to triumph during the potentially difficult days ahead.

1. Focus on the positive

Did you know that during a recession, sildenafil 70% of companies survive, troche and 5% actually thrive?

Okay, sales it’s true that 25% of businesses fail. Yes, it’s true that this particular recession presents a unique set of challenges. But let’s face it – a 75% average business survival rate makes the glass way more than half full.

Consider also that eight of the ten recessions over the past 60 years have lasted under a year in length. The two most recent ones – 1990 and 2001- lasted only 8 months each. On the other hand, the average economic expansion lasts 57 months. That’s almost 5 years in which to make hay while the sun shines, before the next potential downturn.

So why not let optimism rule the day? Regardless of how long this recession lasts, statistics indicate that you have at least a 75% chance of surviving a downturn, as well as a 5% bonus chance for exponential growth. Decide right now that you’re going to survive and thrive – and your focus time, energy, and attention on making that happen!

2. Don’t lose your head

Change is difficult for all kinds of people – customers, suppliers, employees…and owners. In times of transition, anxiety skyrockets. How can we possibly get through tomorrow? Where is the next payroll going to come from? What’s going to happen to our company? Am I going to have a job? Am I going to have a pension?

During times of stress, we are tempted to allow our fears, anxieties, and frustrations to impact business decisions. But now it’s more important than ever to remain strategic, rather than rash or desperate. To continue to work smarter rather than harder.

Start by taking control of your time. Time control allows you to stay agile and respond quickly to new opportunities. Start by listing the 20% of your daily activities that bring in 80% of your business. Insert these strategic foundational “rocks” into your “jar” of time on a daily basis – and do them first. Delegate all “sand and gravel” types of activities to other people, or schedule them into non-productive parts of your day. And closely guard those pockets of strategic planning time – particularly during a recession, they’re the lifeblood of your company.

3. Don’t lose your heart

Whatever your type of business…its heartbeat is its people – employees, suppliers, colleagues, and customers. What happens when a person loses their heartbeat? He or she doesn’t last very long. Neither does a business.

As business owners and managers, we need to keep our heartbeat steady by staying in close touch with our people. Now is the time to reach out to employees, helping them connect and rely on each other to get the job done. It’s also the time to reach out to clients and customers, increasing frequency of contact, telling upbeat stories, and not being shy about asking them to refer new business.

And don’t forget to listen while you talk – for changes in customer and supplier priorities, needs, budgets and proposed spending levels that might impact your business. Most importantly, listen for ways that you might be able to serve people even better so they stick with you throughout the lean times.

4. Stay focused on innovation and learning.

The automatic reaction to marketplace pressure is to hunker down and cut costs. But the quickest way to lose the heartbeat of any business is to slash spending on R&D and training. The skills of your workforce quickly become outdated, and new ideas cease to flow down the pipe. Then when new opportunities present themselves, the organization is not ready to respond. This kind of short-term thinking has been the death of many businesses, regardless of market conditions.

Money is above all a form of energy. By focusing on priorities that keep energy and motivation high within your business team, you create the conditions that attract opportunities. Keep energy high by staying in touch with your team through daily and weekly “huddles”. Seek their input and support to deal with setbacks and obstacles, and keep their spirits up by rewarding them for helping your business thrive throughout the recession.

Have a wonderful 2009!

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