There is a saying on both sides of the Atlantic that is applicable
to today's 'credit crunch' economy, namely: 'When the going gets
tough, the tough get going'.
The reason God put economists on this earth is to make gypsy fortune
tellers look respectable. If you want three opinions on where
we are headed, ask two economists. They don't know. Neither
do you or I. This suggests two mutually exclusive strategies: One
is hunker down, watch what happens, and pray. The other
is get aggressive, make things happen, and pray. As
'The Lord helps those who help themselves', I suggest you opt for
the second alternative.
The first thing you might do is a bit of market research: Get
out there and talk to your customers, past and present. Ask
them what their special needs are in the recession and then listen. You
will learn something.
Next, ask them what you can do to help. Do they need a different
mix of goods and services? Do they have special financing
problems? Tell them you look on them not so much as customers,
but more as partners. After all, we are in this mess together. Working
together can produce exceptional results for both parties.
Make more sales calls. 'Nothing happens until somebody sells
something' is more than just a cliche.
Also, remember to be nice to your banker. If you have not
already done so, go into the local branch and get acquainted. Ask
for his or her advice. Again, you will learn something.
Assess your hunker-down position. Ask yourself the very
tough question; 'Can I get by with fewer people'. If you
have to reduce your work force, involve your employees. They
may have some good ideas. Also there are alternative ways
to reduce the wage bill, such as going to part time work, giving
leaves of absence, or even accepting a pay cut for the duration
of the crisis.
Finally, develop a Blitz mentality: You know you are going
to make it, despite what the bastards do. In the words of
Winston Churchill; 'Never give up. Never ever give up.'