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When the Going Gets Tough

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BLOGS BY WALTER WENTZ

Walter Wentz and Charlie

When the Going Gets Tough

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 Sir Winston Churchill; 'Never give up. Never ever give up.'

Walter Wentz

Credit Crunch