Savvy Entrepreneurs Play by Different Rules in Uncertain Times

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As we pass the five-year anniversary of thestart of the economic recession in December 2007, manyobservers focuswhat was lost:

¢ 8 million jobs
¢ 146,000 employer businesses
¢ 17.5 percent average individual earnings

But the businesses that survived the Great Recession and are thriving today didn’t focus on losses then – and they aren’t now, says Donna Every, a financial expert who has published three non-fiction business books. For businesses, switching gears to deal with inclement economic conditions involves adopting new perspectives and practices like:

¢ Build on what you have, not toward what you want: Instead of setting goals and then seeking out the resources you’ll need to meet them, assess what you have available and decide what you can achieve with that. This not only saves you the time and expense of pulling together resources you may not have, it also gives you the advantage of working from your business’s individual and unique strengths.

¢ Follow the Las Vegas rule: Tourists planning a weekend in Las Vegas will often set aside the amount of money they’re willing to gamble – and lose — on cards or the slots. That way, they won’t lose more than they can afford. During an uncertain economy, entrepreneurs should calculate their risks the same way. Rather than going for the biggest opportunities as you would in prosperous times, look for the opportunities that won’t require as much of your resources. Calculate how much you can afford to lose, and always consider the worst-case scenario.

¢ Join hands and hearts: Competition is fine when things are going well, but when times are tough, you need allies. Explore forming partnerships with other entrepreneurs so you can strategize to create opportunities together. With what your partners bring to the table, you’ll have more strength and new options to work with.

¢ Capitalize on the unexpected: Surprises can have positive outcomes if you handle them nimbly by finding ways to use them to your advantage. Instead of planning damage control for the next unexpected contingency, look at it as an opportunity. Get creative as you look for the positives it presents.

¢ When life is unpredictable, don’t try to forecast: Focus on what you can do and create now rather than what you can expect based on what happened in the past. In good times, that information can be a helpful and reliable way to make predictions, but savvy entrepreneurs don’t count on that in uncertain times.

posted by Tiffany Haslacker
01/14/2013