Small businesses can’t wait on the government to save us

If you’re a small business owner who’s been in business for a while, I probably don’t have to tell you that the federal government’s programs to stimulate the economy are not going to help you save – or grow – your business this year.

If you’ve been making payroll and paying taxes for any time at all, you already know that the survival of your business depends on one thing and one thing only: your own performance and the performance of your organization.

Small businesses have never asked for, or needed, handouts from the government anyway – and we sure didn’t get one with the stimulus bill; we just need government to get out of our way.

So here’s a critical 2009 self-survival task: It’s not going to be enough for our small businesses to STAY relevant this year, because that assumes our past relevance is still valid. It isn’t. This year we have to ask our customers directly - face-to-face, if possible - to define what relevance means to them. In 99.44% of the times you ask, the “relevance” answer will be different from what you thought it was last year. Be sure to take notes, and then deliver what they told you.

If you focus on this one thing my friends, you will greatly increase your chances of surviving and perhaps thriving in 2009, and establish a sound platform from which to launch 2010.

Recently, I talked about this issue on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show. I also talked about two nightmares that will result from the government’s attempt to pick winners and losers in the real estate foreclosure crisis going on right now, which I plan to blog about later this week. Take a few minutes to listen to what I had to say, and, of course, be sure to leave a comment.

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