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The Recession Is Here - Businesses Fight Back!
"When you can't solve the problem, manage it."
Robert H. Schuller
For the past six months there has been much discussion about a recession. The anticipation that a recession was on its way seemed to cause recession-like behavior before it was clear whether or not there was one. It reminded me of the children’s story Chicken Little. The main character, a chicken, repeatedly cried throughout the town, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling.” Everyone believed it and it caused havoc among the animals. The pundits served as our country’s Chicken Little crying that a recession is coming. People stopped spending in anticipation and the economy started to show signs of a downturn. The negative focus caught on like a forest fire in the middle of a drought. The recession was going to happen anyway, but all the negative conversation didn’t help.
Now what do you do? The reality is that gas prices are astronomical, affecting all aspects of commerce. Consumers and businesses are cautious about their expenditures. Should we all hide in the basement until the hurricane passes? I think not. Is there an alternative? Here are some ways to counteract a down economy.
The recession has resulted in a cool and rainy economic climate. Put up your umbrella, try and stay dry and keep walking toward your destination. Business is there and it is yours to win.
- Respond rather than react. I tell clients not to react to difficult people in their company, to the competition or to the economy. There is a distinction between reacting and responding. A reaction is an emotional knee-jerk reply to a situation. Instead, step back, assess and respond: think about how to address the situation. See if there might be an opportunity within the problem.
- Move forward, not backward. If your competitors are cutting back, you offer more. Stand out from the rest, don’t join them. Keep moving ahead. Avoid risky situations but don’t stop progress. Be in a great position when things pick up to make those more costly updates or changes.
- Continue marketing. Most companies stop marketing when economic times get rough. You’ll cause an additional loss of business by cutting off the promotion of your business. There is certainly business activity, so keep speaking to your customers and prospects. If there is less marketing noise, your message is more apt to be heard. You can get a bigger piece of the pie when your competitors reduce their visibility and you don’t.
- Use caution in employee reduction. If you let too many people go, the quality of your customer service will erode. Keep your critical people. The economic condition is temporary. You don’t want to lose valued employees. When trimming headcounts, cut non-essential replaceable employees.
- Think positive. A gloom-and-doom attitude will keep people away. Being upbeat and looking at the glass as half full will attract more people to your business.