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Positioning Your Business for the Economic Recovery
With a positive attitude and a little creativity, you'll come out ahead [EXTERNAL] (Entrepreneur Magazine's website).May 6, 2002

By Bruce Freeman [E-MAIL]

When times are tough and business is down, it's hard to remember that good times will come again. Closing your office door, putting your feet up and remembering the glory days of the 90's does absolutely no good. Complaining may give you some momentary relief, but it doesn't bring customers through the door. A positive mental attitude is absolutely the most important aspect to recovering from anything. The determination to succeed can work miracles no matter what the climate or situation. Adjust your attitude; with the right one, you can move mountains.

Bolster that positive mental attitude with positive speech. You can't stay focused on motivating yourself or your employees if you sabotage yourself, your company or industry with negative comments. If you need to reduce your anxiety by communicating your misery or speaking your fears, put them on paper. When you've gotten your troubles off your chest, tear that paper up and move on. When you see them on paper, you'll probably realize that your anxiety was out of proportion to your real situation anyway.

"Out of sight, out of mind." Staying connected is critical. As the economy recovers, you want your clients, former clients, strategic partners and business associates to remember you first when services and products are needed. Slow times are great times to do the projects you usually put on the back burner.

  • Send a postcard or letter to a couple of hundred industry associates with an industry tip or humorous cartoon.

  • Write an article or newsletter. You don't have to be a literary genius. You just have to keep your name in front of all the people who will be in a position to purchase product or service (or recommend you to the people who do) when business picks up.

  • Once a week, pick up the phone and call five industry colleagues from whom you haven't heard recently. Just because business is slow for you doesn't mean it's slow for them. They may have some collateral business that could help you.

  • When you speak to an industry colleague and they indicate they have no business for you, do NOT say, "If you hear of anything, would you keep me in mind?" Everyone will say "yes" to be polite. Polite means good manners, which are important, but it does not mean more business. Instead, try this, "While we're talking, I would really appreciate you're taking a quick look though your database and giving me the names of two or three people who might be interested." Ask for permission to use their name when you make the next call.

Stay involved. When business is off, your mind tends to wander. Judge Judy may make great afternoon court TV decisions but they may not impact favorably on your business.

  • Take a few hundred business cards and go to a trade show in your industry. Go to each booth, hand the company representative a card and merely say,"What are you showing today?" Most representatives at a trade show booth are sales oriented and you won't have to say much more. When they follow up after the trade show, ask them for other company contacts after they try to sell you.

  • Call a few other business associates and set up a regular weekly lunch.
    This will help keep your mind off your own misery.
  • Join a community group. Become an officer of a trade association. Become active in helping your children's school. You never know where the next piece of business will come from.

No one is going to do it for you. Your measure is taken when times are tough. Do your homework, stay connected to your industry's pulse and stay involved in the effort to move forward. Don't give up, and most important, know deep inside, that you are going to come out on top.


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