Recession is heavily in the news at the moment.  It’s the economists way of feeling that they have something useful to contribute to the news headlines.

There’s a great post on Research Loudmouth called Recession Therapy where the author sees packed shops in London’s Oxford Street while the press is all doom and gloom.  Let’s face it, there are some 60 million people in the UK who still need to live their lives, run their businesses, eat, drink and look after their families.  Surely you can find enough customers in 60 million to keep your business growing?

Meanwhile Lilamay’s posting World Recession From Global Warming and Peak Oil is one of many doom and gloom blog postings that I’d suggest you take with a pinch of salt.  While the global economy may struggle, the strong business can survive and thrive by doing more of the right things.

I’m much more in favour of the idea that the media is talking us into a recession, as discussed in Are We Talking Ourselves Into A Recession? on Frank McKenna’s blog.  This is yet another example of the population being herded like sheep by the media.  Remember the way that the England football managers are all gradually hounded out of their jobs?

Despite doing a good job, Terry Venables met his end thanks to the media dishing up the dirt on his financial dealings.  Eventually cleared of any wrong-doing, Venebles was unable to continue as England Manager and so we lost the best home-grown national team manager that we’ve had for a long time.

I’m not a huge fan of the UK media.  Driven by daily sales, they will make sensational news out of anything that can help them sell a few thousand more papers and they don’t have to suffer the consequences of their actions.

Anyway, focus on what you CAN do to improve your business.  Do it now, before life gets tougher, too.  Here are a few things that are in the spotlight when I’m coaching a client:

  1. Get in control of your finances – invoice on time, collect debts fast, manage your cashflow carefully, make sure your products are all profitable and get rid of any old or overstocked inventory.
  2. Eliminate staff that aren’t pulling their weight.  They drag everybody down, including you.  Make sure your team are motivated, trained and performing well.  Better to do the hard things now to the dead wood in your organisation than to wait until you have to let lots of people go.
  3. Keep in touch with your customers regularly.  Make sure they know that you care.  I just switched mobile phone supplier because my last company only contacted me to renew my phone and then tried to push me into signing up in a hurry – not a hope!
  4. Learn something new about business, stretch yourself and make careful, staged improvements to your business so that your competition is weaker than you, just in case it gets really tough
  5. Follow up on every single sales opportunity that comes your way.  Don’t let any of them slip away because you’re disorganised or careless.  Get a customer database and put everybody’s name into it, even those that don’t buy.  Follow up with them, send emails, give them special offers.  Go the extra mile.

Most of all, keep your head up and take advantage when your competitors let their heads fall.  Business is about winning, not losing…