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Monthly Business e-Tips Vol 5
Issue 12

When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Lemonade

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein

Looking back at the year that was what a ride! We endured the intense, seemingly endless and bitter election process. The housing market continues its downward spiral. The financial mess worsens as the government bailout grows. Crimes of every flavor increase within this atmosphere of fear. Was this a tough year? You bet.

We have a choice. We can dwell on how bad it is and become paralyzed by our distress, or we can look for the good that always exists. Spiritual forces tell us everything happens for a reason. Perplexing as it may be right now, in time the reasons will become clear.

The most resilient people find opportunities within challenges by staying focused during times of stress. They turn scarcity into abundance; they shift a problem into a gift; they use slowdowns to regroup. Let’s look at ways you can stabilize your business during these difficult times:

  • Work on your business. You are always working so hard in your business that you rarely have the luxury of paying attention to long term goals. Now you have time to perfect your business operation and build it for sustainability.
  • Trim the fat. Can you cut down on expenses? Be more productive. Eliminate what isn’t working. Cut your hours and save on fixed costs. Find other ways can you preserve your cash flow.
  • Be grateful for what you do have. Although your revenues may be down, your business is still operating. Let it be known that you appreciate your loyal customers, hard working employees, patient suppliers and generous colleagues. Appreciative people focus on what is rather than what isn’t and it’s contagious.
  • Ask your customers what keeps them up at night. Use this time to listen more intently to your customers. Get closer to them. Explore their worries, hopes and future needs. Use this time to become more responsive to them. Start now to prepare for their future requirements.
  • Look for the opportunities challenges present. Have you discovered that you need to offer a new service? Can you sell different packages or levels of service? Is it time to start that e-commerce site you have been talking about for years? Tackle the projects that will make your business more profitable.

The moral of the year 2008 is that now is the time for change. Make the best of the present and create more of what you want for the future. Pass on the standard heavy eggnog and go for the refreshing lemonade (with its fewer calories). The times call for tightening the belt, literally and figuratively. It’s not surprising that people connect more and become closer during these times. When they spend more time together they discover things they hadn’t noticed in the past, the good in each other and in the world. These people are the survivors and the ones who help others do the same.

Our troubles feel lighter when we help those less fortunate. In that spirit, a donation has been made in honor of my readers, clients and colleagues to Project Bread. I wish you and your families a happy holiday and a peaceful year in 2009. I appreciate your trust and confidence now and as we make our way together through the days ahead.

Warmest wishes,

Ellen

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