Entrepreneurs: Weathering the Economic Storm

I tend to worry about things over which I have no control. It makes life more drama-filled than necessary. It makes parenting challenging. Heck, sometimes it makes breathing difficult!

Riding the economy’s roller coaster is a white-knuckled, teeth-clenching experience these days… especially THIS day.

It shook me today. I’ve been preparing for a “recession/depression” for several months. My debt load is probably lower than most peoples’ — but I still have debt. (I hate being in debt.) I live simply. I don’t have extravagant tastes. That all helps me to make it as a solopreneur.

My client-base is primarily real estate and that industry has been hard-hit of late. I don’t work with those new to the industry. My clients are the established, knowledgeable, experienced portion of the market. So when MY clients are feeling the pinch — it’s serious. When my clients go from immediate pay to 30/60 days, I get concerned.

But, for those entrepreneurs out there that are starting to worry, I’d like to share some sage advice from one of my clients (complete with my interpretation). I won’t identify the client because he admitted “I’m scared too” and that admission may alarm his agents. He said, “I’m scared too, Angela, but you are in a good place and so am I… we owe little and are not at the mercy of a big corporation for our weekly check. If it’s not working, we will reinvent ourselves!”

I took that information and sat on it awhile this afternoon. While I watched the stock market climb back up to a reasonable level (back above 10,000 for the DOW), I pondered the implications of what he said.

He’s right. As entrepreneurs, we are able to make adjustments, look for opportunities and jump on them in a way that others can’t. We do have the flexibility to “reinvent” ourselves, to refine our vision, or to completely rebuild our set of goals.

Another client commented (sometime last week) that there would always be work for someone who was knowledgeable in their field. He said the economic slow down would do two things: Clear out the “chaff” from his industry (real estate) and create an even stronger demand for my own services. He said, “People who need help will be less willing to offer work to those who are unproven and those who are less talented.”

Although his compliments made me blush at the time (and offer me an opportunity to brag a bit now), the fact is… when money is tight, you go for the “sure thing” in business and in personal decisions.

So if you are an established provider, there really isn’t a reason to worry. It may get interesting for awhile, but we will be fine. It may help to remember that these issues aren’t an issue for a particular country, they are world-wide.

We are participating in a global economy and no country will be its own little universe again. What happens from here on out will cause ripples across all oceans. That’s something that I find both comforting and alarming. It requires thinking about my tiny little business on a much bigger scale.

For those new to the industry, make friends with the “old hands” and show your stuff. The best way to land work in tough times is through the recommendation of trusted providers, subcontracting and concentrating on your best offerings.

If you aren’t advertising your niche or special skills, do it. If you haven’t established a short list of your best service offerings, there’s never been a better time. Choose them, communicate them and make sure they are “front and center” on your business website.

Just because there is a sluggishness in the economy does not mean we can afford it in our businesses. Now is the time to work harder and rise faster. These are the times when opportunities arise and disappear quickly. Be ready.

And remember, in this era when mega-corporations are failing and floundering and drowning… you have the reins of your business. Here, at least, you have a choice on how your income is made and how your bottom line reads. Small businesses are the backbone of economies — we work even when others don’t.

(Photo from MorgueFile.com by MarkeMark.)

Comments are closed.