HOW AMBITIOUS ARE YOU?
I ask because the way that many businesses are behaving in this recession (as in previous ones) you'd have to draw the conclusion that many – if not most - lack all but the most basic of ambitious tendencies: let's try to stay alive.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not denying the severity of the downturn in many sectors or its potential threat to many livelihoods.
What I'm questioning is the response to it. The "Let’s batten down the hatches and ride out the storm" approach. Because it can all too easily become a self-fulfilling prophesy: by playing the role of potential storm victim, you invite in the spectre of failure and disaster.
Yet look around you. In every sector - every sector (including yours, I'll be bound) - there are businesses that are thriving, beating the odds, making hay in spite of the lack of sunshine. How are they managing it? What are they doing that's so right? Do they have something fundamental that you don't? Some unique point of difference that makes them recession-proof?
I doubt it, but if they do, find out what it is and rip it off! More likely, though...
IT'S ALL IN THE MIND
Chances are, what sets apart success from failure (or just survival) is no more than attitude, or mindset. Linked to belief, confidence and positive thinking.
Sure, many businesses will fail in a recession. Many will fail during periods of rapid growth too. The weak will go to the wall, but they would have gone anyway: they just go quicker when times, and credit, are tight. But many businesses set up and SUCCEED in a recession too. Many entrepreneurs believe that recession presents the best opportunities going to start a successful enterprise.
Could it be that they thrive because THEY BEHAVE NORMALLY? Continuing to invest in their business (marketing, sales, training, infrastructure, resources) and acting as if business will come and the business will thrive, providing they keep applying the twin mantra: do the right things and do things right. A nice distinction but a vital one in managing a successful enterprise. And along the way of course, they pick up lots of fall-out from all those negative thinkers who are busy battening down the hatches. Clients, customers like to be associated with successful, growing, well-regarded enterprises, not ones which are just surviving.
Sure, you'll keep a few, come what may, but maybe you'll lose some you didn't need to because you stopped acting as you would if you were "successful" and growing.
The summarised message? Plan for success (not survival) and you'll more likely grow than stand still (or worse).
And stay positive, even if you're having a tough time of it in spite of everything: as a speaker at a recent event put it: no one looks forward to following a frightened, negative pessimist into a tough day.