Are you making the recession worse?

34996025 Let me first acknowledge that I know the recession is real.  I know people are losing their jobs, homes and life savings.    I get that.

But the truth is….we’re making it worse.  We’re letting fear make it worse.

Just like the kid who works himself up into a frenzy because he imagines what might be under his bed — we're allowing fear and all the hype freeze us with fear. 

That paralysis is the biggest threat your business has ever faced.

Look around you.  Ask other business owners.  They will sheepishly admit that business is good.   Some, under the promise of anonymity, will confess that it’s great.  For the vast majority of businesses, especially B-to-B and the service sectors – things are fine.

And yet, they behave as though they’re down to their last dime.

I was talking to a friend of mine who owns a small business last week.  He admitted they’re having a fantastic start to the year and everything looks good moving forward. 

He went on to tell me that he needs a new company car.  He has the money to pay cash for it.  Car prices have never been lower.  But he’s holding off.

Just in case.

Simpson College here in Iowa has a brilliant outreach program, thanks to the Associate Director of the department.  She’s like a Pied Piper, getting to know theatre kids when they’re younger and encouraging them to visit campus, attend their very profitable summer program, etc.

Simpson just announced that despite great enrollment numbers and the construction of a new theatre space (capital campaign) – they’re eliminating the position.

Just in case enrollment goes down.

People, we have to stop this.  A stimulus package alone isn’t going to cut it.  Do you think any of those stimulus dollars are coming your way?  Check the list – you’re not on it!

Small business owners are the backbone of this country and we will determine how long we’re in this recession.  I’m not asking you to spend with reckless abandon.  But I am suggesting that we don’t get our business advice from the local or national news.

Look around.  See how your business is actually doing.  And behave accordingly.  We can be paralyzed with fear of what might be coming, or we can behave ourselves out of this recession.

But…it is up to us.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

20 comments on “Are you making the recession worse?

  1. Karin H. says:

    “We can be paralyzed with fear of what might be coming, or we can behave ourselves out of this recession”

    Could you tell that to a lot of small business’ clients-to-be, Drew?
    😉

    Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

  2. Chris Wilson says:

    Amen!

    And exactly the reason that seemingly bold companies that see our economic state as an opportunity more than a risk will come out of this ahead.

  3. How true, how true. And we put these ideas into action this weekend. We had an an opportunity last week to be interviewed by the local paper regarding United Linen’s take on the condition of the current economy. If you would like to read the article, let me know.

  4. Karin,

    I’m trying….I promise. That’s what this post is all about!

    Drew

  5. Chris,

    It’s so true. It’s not about being reckless. It’s about seizing the opportunity. This “down time” can be exactly when you propel your business to a new market leader position.

    If you are willing to be bold.

    Drew

  6. I appreciate this post! I agree, the reality is not exactly as it might seem watching the evening news.

    In fact, we stopped watching the news because it was only bad – and I don’t want negative news to plant worry that affects what is, so far, my positive reality.

    Since the beginning of the downturn, I have wondered how much the media makes it worse. Before the days of endless news, would this recession have gone as far? It’s a case of bad news gone viral through all the media we have.

    Casey

  7. Dina Giovale says:

    I love it, “we can behave ourselves out of this recession.” Well said.

  8. Kelly says:

    Drew,

    Well, since “Amen” is taken, I’ll go with Yippee!

    I started noticing this in talking to clients last spring, and I started writing about it then, once in a while, first as a “anybody noticing this” and then as a “what are we doing to ourselves.”

    It’s great that folks are being cautious. We should *always* know why we’re spending every dollar, not just “in these times.” But you hit it perfectly—we are making it worse. No doubt at all.

    I have one friend who said to me last week, “I love recessions! Everything’s cheap and people can hear my message now ‘cuz everyone else is being quiet!” I wish I knew a lot more like her.

    Thanks for this great post.

    Regards,

    Kelly

  9. Amanda says:

    Drew:
    I completely agree with you on:
    – Many people are afraid and their fear derives from what they see on the news. Fear (aka Low Confidence in the Economy) is one of the most important components of a recession. I hope people who read your post will begin to see your point: “Move on, shall we?” (or at least I think that’s part of your point)
    – My company is in the B2B service sector. Things really are fine for us. Is ‘fine’ acceptable? No, we are planning and gearing up for ‘fine’ to turn to ‘great’ in 2009. All three of your bullet points are on our to-do list (or have already been implemented).

    I feel awful for the theater instructor. The logic behind laying her off just doesn’t add up.

    Now, the friend who can buy a new company car, with cash… I can understand his hesitation. We are watching our cash flow like hawks. We don’t want to be in a position where we ned a line of credit but can’t get one. So, we won’t be making major purchases, like cars, until things settle down a bit. Cash flow for a small business, like mine, is key!

  10. Amanda says:

    Drew:
    I completely agree with you on:
    – Many people are afraid and their fear derives from what they see on the news. Fear (aka Low Confidence in the Economy) is one of the most important components of a recession. I hope people who read your post will begin to see your point: “Move on, shall we?” (or at least I think that’s part of your point)
    – My company is in the B2B service sector. Things really are fine for us. Is ‘fine’ acceptable? No, we are planning and gearing up for ‘fine’ to turn to ‘great’ in 2009. All three of your bullet points are on our to-do list (or have already been implemented), among many others.

    I feel awful for the theater instructor. The logic behind laying her off just doesn’t add up.

    Now, the friend who can buy a new company car, with cash… I can understand his hesitation. We are watching our cash flow like hawks. We don’t want to be in a position where we ned a line of credit but can’t get one. So, we won’t be making major purchases, like cars, until things settle down a bit. Cash flow for a small business, like mine, is key!

  11. Bob Donohue says:

    I love finding posts like this, thank you. I have several colleagues who are definitely doing their parts to make the recession worse by constantly telling themselves and each other how bad it is. I sat quietly through a business luncheon while everyone around me commiserated with each other. When someone finally asked me what I thought, I told them I was using this time to transform my business from a “job” to my passion. And guess what, it’s happening and I’m making more money too.

    My thinking is that now is the time to grab the bull by the horns and start doing what you’re passionate about. When your passion is your business, the economy around you is irrelevant.

  12. Here’s one great example of behaving ourselves out of the recession. I just got an email from the manager of Sherwood Ice Arena where I play rec hockey. He’s asking the arena’s paying customers (about $1,000 per year for 3 seasons of rec hockey) to let him know what we do, so that if the arena has the need for our products or services, they can purchase from us instead of elsewhere. How’s that for brilliant?! (And a great blog post idea for me for today.)

  13. Jessica says:

    I’m glad someone finally said it “out loud.” Our economic situation, while unsettling for some, is an opportunity for most. And if we don’t carpe diem, we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.

  14. Karin H. says:

    LOL Jessica

    Isn’t Carpe Diem the cause of our economic situation? Greedy bankers, investors and even home-owners. The sky was the limit, everything is possible, everyone gets a loan/mortgage – Carpe Diem

    But you’re right, there is another – more sustainable – Carpe Diem out here now.

    Karin H

  15. Lewis Green says:

    Drew,

    I completely agree: Here is but one line from my current direct marketing campaign: “But now is not the time to hide, for those who grow their profits in down economies are those best prepared for tremendous growth when the economy rebounds.”

    Good post, Drew.

  16. I had a post forwarded to me the other day that started with the words, “I will not be participating in the recession” and I thought it was either the best thing I’d ever heard, or the most naive.

  17. Jerry says:

    I think that some of our continueing economic woes are brought on by the media. The news tells Americans to be afraid and cautious then is surprised when Americans are afraid and cautious.

  18. I worry that business people are so freaked out by the media and the focus on the doom and gloom that they are going to literally freeze to death.

    We know, good times or bad, that a stagnant business is a dying business. We need to be fighting and shouting and reassuring our customers that we and they are okay.

    This isn’t the time to retreat — it’s the time to charge!

    Drew

  19. doingWell says:

    I agree. We own a saltwater hobby store (retail and online) and have not been affected by the recession. And fish are a luxury. I believe there is a recession for some but opportunities for others. Your pick. Media should go look for companies doing well and report on those too.

  20. Doing Well,

    Amen! Even a balanced job of reporting would change the mood of this entire country. I’m glad to hear your business is going well.

    Drew

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *