There is no denying that this past year of 2009 has been tough economically for nearly everyone. In the U.S., 35 states were reported to have an unemployment rate of over 5% as reported for October on CNNMoney. That is a lot of people without jobs and income. My home state of California currently has an unemployment rate of 12.3% according to today’s CNNMoney report – even though the headline states, “The unemployment rate is falling!”
Forbes [dot com] on December 16 had a great article by John Zogby doing a bit of forecasting for 2010 – the highlights from his article:
- “…Look for sluggish consumer spending to continue-If you produce or market luxury retail products, the keywords should be high value, high quality and longevity
- The Misplaced Assumption: That the unemployment rate really reflects employment. It has always been a lousy number. It ignores people who have given up looking for work as well as part-timers. What we really need is an indicator of how people survive. Who are the potential entrepreneurs?…”
I think the end of the year is a good time to reflect on what has transpired the preceding 12 months. In my personal experience I know of two businesses that have closed; one business that had to close their brick-and-mortar shop and operate strictly online; and one person who was laid off in 2008 and still has been unable to find employment – he has now started his own business, but in an area totally unrelated to his working skill set. Layoff was even a specter in the company for which my husband works – twice during this past year pink slips were handed out. Even in my own business I have made changes.
So, what is my point? My point is that people who do have jobs, do have businesses and are looking ahead to 2010 might take a second thought to what they might do to secure long-term solidity rather than how they will meet next month’s bills.
Entrepreneurs are forward-looking, innovative-thinking creative individuals. Starting your own business in the first place took courage, research and passion. I think it’s going to take those same things to see us through the recession. While sitting of an evening during these holidays with a cup of eggnog and plate of decorated cookies, maybe have a pad of paper and pencil and do some revisiting. Remember back to when you first began your business – what was your belief level:
- in your initial business idea
- in your dreams
- in your goals and milestones
- in your company and product or service
Has anything changed? Has the current economy changed your direction? Have you lost clients or customers and now you need to either (1) find new markets or new ways in which to communicate with your market; or (2) find a new product or service that will better serve a more spending-conscious consumer? Or, maybe the change in the economy has brought you even more customers and clients [some types of business consultancies or life coaching businesses]- maybe what you need now is a re-evaluation of your abilities to handle a larger client load and ask (1) can you continue to offer the degree of customer service you were previous to the new case load; and (2) are you still able to give added value to each and every consumer experience with your business?
We all need to pay the monthly bills of course. But this past year’s burden of trying to stay ahead can have the result of putting us in “survival mode” and cause us to forget what we’d like our business to look like in ten year’s time. Survival business tasks are very different than long-term business building tasks. We may need to do both. The point of my conversation is that in surviving we ought not to forget the long-term. Remembering where we’d like to go with our businesses may stimulate some creative thinking to get us there. Happy Holidays.