The question is posed in the context of our economic situation and your business’ approach to ‘dealing’ with this. If your answer is “survive” I would suggest you are likely to be undermining your chances of success by adopting a limiting perspective and attitude. It is possible your thinking will be constraining your business options by the inflexibility of your view of the current situation. Success is achieving what you set out to do and avoiding failure is something very different. An approach Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, articulated well in his quote, “If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward…”

Beware of the power of ‘spin’ and guard against it! It was widely reported the UK achieved a third quarter growth of 0.5%; furthermore, the global economy grew by about 4.5% during the same period. Yet our economic news was still dominated by a ‘doom and gloom’ perspective. The reality is growth is neither recession nor regression and ‘good news’ does not make good news copy. As an aside, I understand one CEO of a regional chamber of commerce was unable to get his good news publically aired at the time of announcing this third quarter data. Given these growth figures and that we enjoy unprecedented access (and support) to the global market place, areas of opportunity must exist to explore and exploit.

Challenge conventional thinking! ‘Niche’ is not always nice and can be a barrier to flexibility. The business ‘We Only Press Green Shirts’ is going to suffer if there are insufficient people who want their green shirts pressing. The skills, assets and resources required to press green shirts are the same as those required to press shirts of all colours, not mention a vast array of other garments. Overly simple perhaps but my point is clear; if your client base or market share is reducing what is it you do which can be applied in another way to make a profit?

Perception really matters when assessing the future of a business; challenge your perception of your business. If the diminishing client base of “We Only Press Green Shirts” is seen as being due to the real terms reduction in disposable income available for a discretionary spend service, this thinking may lead to assuming the business is destined to fail. However, if we consider the client base from a different perspective it may be possible to see an opportunity. For example, those who are working in the UK are tending to continue to work long hours and most working families are reported to be struggling to allocate the time needed for domestic work. Perspective influences branding, marketing and sales; remember perspective is not necessarily reality.

So, are you struggling to survive or trying to thrive? Do you possess the flexibility of perspective to recognise opportunity where others see only threat? Do you have the strength of mind and determination to succeed? What is your strategy for succeeding in the current economic situation and will it be sufficiently flexible to meet the needs of a dynamic market place?

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