Tag Archive for 'financial crisis'

The 2009 Small Business Attitude

Most people who know me will tell you that I exhibit the classic traits of an entrepreneur: pathological optimist, Pollyanna playing the “glad game,” glass half-full, take no prisoners, etc., etc. Perhaps I was born with all of that; but there is something else that I have acquired in my decades in the marketplace, many of them managing a small business, just like yours: Discretion is the better part of valor.

We’re currently in a very challenging economic period. I use the word “challenging” rather than the technical term, “recession,” because the impact of our economic condition is different for each small business. Some are really hurting, and some are doing okay. But every small business owner is justified in being concerned about the next 12 months.

So, it’s my nature to say, “Damn the torpedoes – full speed ahead.” But that’s not the attitude I’m encouraging right now. My advice is to assume what I call “The 2009 Small Business Attitude,” which is when you look in the mirror every morning, stand up straight and say to yourself, “I’m going to win by surviving.”

I’ll let you define what surviving means for your organization. But I believe that those small businesses that are still in business on January 1, 2010, can say they had a good year. If you can do better than that, congratulations.

Frankly, when we look back on 2009, I think we will determine that it wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be. But right now, as we anticipate the next “shoe” to drop – like one or two of the Big 3 auto makers going bankrupt – many organizations, large and small, as well as most consumers, are girding their loins in preparation for a tough year. And that kind of fear in the marketplace is what causes a recession to last a little longer than it should.

If you feel like taking a big risk in 2009, remember that there is a very fine line that separates the opportunity at the leading edge and the cash-eating effects of the bleeding edge. Make sure your capital picture can support a mistake or a surprise.

Recently, on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked about some of the operating fundamentals that we must focus on in order to accomplish The Small Business Attitude. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen and leave a comment. I’ll see you on the radio and on the Internet.

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