What to Do in Today's Economy
By David Sanders, Certified Master Consultant
Probably around the time of the election, the government will look back at our current economy and declare that we've been in a recession for some time. They don't proclaim a recession until after we have had six months of declining GDP (Gross Domestic Product – how much we as a nation produce).
Six of the past 7 recessions have been ushered in by a real estate crash. The weakness in the real estate market is unmistakable – prices in most areas continue to drop, houses take longer to sell, the lenders have tightened up like a drum and foreclosures are coming onto the market in an ever-increasing stream. Our current crash is now the worst since 1991. And this effects an amazing number of jobs and lives.
The Fed's lowering of interest rates seems to be having little effect in reviving this market. The banks are more concerned about the regulators' crack-down on the excesses of the recent mortgage lending binge.
New higher reporting requirements are revealing that some of the largest investment banks on Wall Street are insolvent, requiring massive government intervention and costing more jobs.
Since January, imports from China have been declining for the first time in recent history, fall-out from the Mattel scandal and the food scare.
One of the largest investment banks on Wall Street, Goldman Sachs, issued an all-out recession call last January, with the silver lining that they expect it to be relatively short (only 2-3 quarters long) and light (only 0.5% total downturn). Realtors are being told to expect an upturn in their market next year.
All that is fine, but WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
First of all, as tough as this current economy is, and as scary as the idea of a recession is, we have to step back and take a hard look at what's really happening – the big picture. Otherwise we may make some bad mistakes that will hurt us and our business ventures.
Here's the truth. Most areas of the economy have come into this in robust good shape and the drop is projected to be quite small. This doesn't help if you're one of the ones caught in the squeeze. So here is the #1 thing I would recommend to businesses and individuals:
Promote as a business and as an individual. This means that marketing is NOT the first thing you cut. Instead, you must find ways to increase the effectiveness of your marketing and increase even that. I do many free or low-cost seminars through local Chambers of Commerce which will give you what you need to know to promote effectively. You can find these on my website at www.creativestrats.com.
Many of the biggest companies in the US got their foothold during economic downturns when their competition stopped marketing and they didn't. THIS is the time to really increase your market share.
Produce as an individual. Are you one of the most valuable people where you work? If not, this would be a very smart time to work hard on becoming the “Employee of the Month” for the next few months. If layoffs occur, you want to be the last one that management would consider laying off.
You might even want to polish up your blog and take whatever steps you can to make yourself as attractive and visible as possible.
There are many other steps one could and should take. Obviously this is a good time to inspect what you are doing and adapt it to better survive in our current environment. Of course we need to economize. But be sure you do the promote/produce steps above first. Then you will be on the fast track to do the right thing to survive and prosper in today's world.
David Sanders is CEO of Creative Business Strategies, a firm which serves entrepreneurs and professionals throughout the US. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.