It’s tough out there. No doubt about it. Just when small business owners were starting to regain some hope that the economy might pick up before the end of the year, the bottom fell out from under us again. The stock market swings are as wild as a theme park roller-coaster ride. Consumer sentiment is down. And many experts predict that the remainder of the year could be even worse than expected.
“We already had uncertainty, a major enemy of Wall Street and main street and now you just have more! We’ve learned consumer optimism is lowest since 1980. That is when we were in a recession and in bad shape. Whether you are a consumer or a business owner you are not very optimistic about the future and that turns of course primarily on what they are doing in Washington,” explains Bill Dunkelberg, Chief Economist, National Federation of Independent Business.
As business owners, we can’t control Washington or Wall Street so what are we supposed to do. Some business owners I’ve talked to express disillusionment and anger with our government. Many claim they are so tired of struggling that they are ready to throw in the towel. Well, that’s a rather extreme measure, although understandable given our current market conditions, but here’s what I’d like to recommend.
Stay Focused on Your Business. There are major economic forces affecting our economy today, and there is nothing any of us can do to change those circumstances. If you focus too intently on market conditions, it’s easy to feel panic and fear. You can’t build success if you are making decisions based on emotions. So pay attention to the market, but target your energy and your focus on your own business. What can you do to enhance your customer experience? What profits or services provide the greatest profitability for your business? Are there ways to improve your productivity to add to your bottom line? This economy is the hand we’ve been dealt, complaining about it won’t fix it.
Stay Inspired. When the economy is down, lot’s of us have a tendency to isolate ourselves — buried in the day-to-day operations of businesses. But you need to stay connected and inspired. For example, this week I spoke at the Women’s Leadership Exchange “Go for Growth Conference” in Chicago. Talk about an energized group of women! Yes, the economy sucks was the general consensus. But that wasn’t going to stop these women from going and growing. I left there energized and inspired — full of new ideas.
You need to take time to connect with other business people and learn how they are building despite the economy. Inspiration in the gloomiest times can be a powerful success tool.
By the way, I’ll be speaking at two more Go for Growth conferences coming up in Minneapolis and Phoenix. I hope to see you there. And don’t forget to get my 10 video small business success video series for FREE. A thank you for visiting my new book’s website.