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Posted: November 30, 2011

What if they threw a recession, and nobody came?

Eighteen ways to win the economic war

David Seems

We can't change the economy, but we can change how we react to it. Business owners are at war with the economy, and there are ways to win. Here are a few:

1. Understand that people are bailing out of the corporate world, either voluntarily or involuntarily. Strategically begin to focus your business, if possible, on their needs.

2. Sell yourself consistently and constantly, just do it softly.

3. Make sure that your business is different than your competitors' and ensure that difference drives people to want to do business with you. Things are difficult enough, don't make them more difficult.

4. Deal with profitable customers/clients who are enjoyable to work with and appreciate your services.

5. Look at your business through the eyes of your competitor and constantly improve. Become more personal than ever.

6. Talk to your customers again. Get away from the internet, text messaging and voice mail. In today's dire times, people want to talk to people not to technology.

7. We are in the midst of some great changes in business. Embrace change and make it work to your benefit. Systematize and streamline your business. It is easier in tough times to improve the bottom line. Spend less and continue to work diligently to generate more revenue.

8. Understand that your future is, and will continue to be, greater than your past. Forget about the future and focus on today.

9. Forget about the commodity your business offers and focus on relationships and the value that you bring to those relationships.

10. Be consistent and predictable.

11. Treat everyone with grace and respect.

12. Be proactive, not reactive. Now is the time to break out of your comfort zone. Quit waiting to do something, and take action now! Don't wait until the moment is perfect. Good is better than perfect today.

13. Your customers/clients deserve respect. Always respect them and their time.

14. Continue to dream. Things are tough right now. Don't abandon your goals.

15. People will only do business with you if they perceive that you can fix their problem and fix it better than anybody else.

16. If you wait for things to get better before you move forward, you are doomed.

17. People don't choose companies - they choose people. Make sure they are choosing you.

18. Sell price last and value first.

Your business is special -- make sure people understand why. Remember your next best customer, your next best client, your next best sale could be today. Make sure you are prepared!

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David K. Seems, ChFC is a managing partner of Business Advisors LLC. Dave provides analysis and plan development for business owners to profitably exit their businesses. Dave, along with his strategic partners builds a comprehensive ownership transition plan that provides a blueprint for an owner’s successful exit and their company’s future. The most important aspect that makes Dave an industry leader is that he and his team have developed innovative strategies to address the unique issues faced by business owners operating in a volatile business climate. Contact him at 303-708-8774 or

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Readers Respond

Excellent list of value drivers and core values for any business owner to consider. Developing meaningful relationships with our clients continues to be a solid growth strategy. Great article Dave! By Lisa Michaud on 2011 11 30
Great list, David. All business owners should focus some effort on those. Execution is key. #8 you say forget about the future. When a business owner is so focused on the present they tend to get bogged down in the day-to-day. It's important to operate with a good balance of present, past and future in my humble opinion. Executing on future growth strategies as well as today's survival shouldn't be mutually exclusive. By Marty Koenig | CxO To Go on 2011 11 30
Dave, Good points but I would argue these items should be the normal course of business whether in a recession or boom times. As you and I discussed once, I believe this recession has exposed a lack of leadership unlike any other time in our corporate history. We have people in leadership roles who have no idea how to create true corporate value because they were "mentored" on the idea that corporate value is based on profit you show on the P&L. In order to create "value", these execs only know how to manage the expense side of the company - cut expenses, outsource, offshore, etc. Now they find themselves in a situation where there is nothing left to cut and they are lost as to what to do. Given this situation, they blame the economy, the government, the banks, and whoever else they can find for their failure. They are in a mode of operation where they are waiting for the government to do something that will help them become successful. I believe it is this paralysis by supposed corporate leadership that has prolonged this recession. Now is the time for change and people in leadership roles need to become leaders or be replaced - no more excuses for failure should be accepted. By Jim Kast on 2011 11 30

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