When a rabbit strays onto a road and gets caught in the glare of the headlights, it freezes on the spot.  It hopes that by standing still it won’t get hurt by this strange predator with shining eyes.

This strategy comes from evolution.  When a hungry beast is out hunting for food, it looks for movement to find its next meal.  The trouble is, the car isn’t a hunter, it’s a modern invention that evolution has not yet caught up with.  By standing still, the rabbit is at a much higher risk of kicking the bucket.

The same is happening in businesses up and down the land.  As a business coach I see it all the time.  People are caught in the fear of the continuing banking turmoil and getting frozen by fear.  If you stand still, you’re giving yourself the worst possible chance of survival.

No News Is Good News

If you read the newspapers or blogs about business and the economy, you can easily become depressed by how awful things are and how bad they could become.  Reading an article about the economy already in recession there’s a call for cuts and help from government for small business.  Unfortunately a great big hand is unlikely to reach from the sky and inject £100,000 into your business…

So how exactly is reading the news helping you?  What does it add to your day apart from an unhealthy dose of paranoia, fear and frustration for the economic mismanagement wrought large by short term thinking of the banks?  It’s not going to help your financial position – you’d be better off putting together a cash flow forecast for your business.

So here’s an important practical tip…

If you find yourself feeling miserable about the economy on a daily basis, here’s a prescription to help you.  Stop listening to the news on the radio, tv and cancel your daily newspapers.  Find a good book or audio-book on business and use your time positively with that instead.

At worst you’ll avoid being depressed.  At best, you’ll discover something to boost your business and yourself.  And you might even feel good about yourself too…

Get Out Of The Headlights

It’s time to behave differently to your competition.  Do something that will make you stand out to your customers and they’ll come to you instead.  Fear is nature’s way of telling us that there’s a potential threat to us.  That’s useful – we need to know that some kind of different action to normal is required.  Just don’t be caught by your natural response and do nothing, or you’ll be another piece of economic road-kill.

Here’s a definition of fear you can use to remind you of it’s root…

Expecting to

This old definition is fine if you’re out hunting for dinner and keeping yourself safe from sabre-tooth tigers.  It won’t help you to make more sales and drive your business forwards through the slowdown, though.

In his great book about how to achieve multi-million pound wealth from business, Felix Dennis, the multi-millionaire founder of Dennis Publishing, suggests living a day without fear to see how much you can achieve.  So what could you achieve if you did that?  What do you avoid because of rabbit in the headlights syndrome?

The Credit Crunch & Your Business

Here’s a different way of thinking about the state of the economy and how it will affect your business…

You don’t have a crystal ball.  You cannot predict what’s going to happen in six months’ time and you can’t personally impact the economy in any real way.  And as far as predictions go, you can’t reliably predict what will happen even as close as next week.

But the interesting thing is this.  If you keep doing all the right things today to strengthen and improve your business, increase your profits and become more successful than you are now, whatever happens in 6 months or a year will be far easier for you to face if you’ve done something every day, week and month until then to improve your business.

Meanwhile let your competition stay frozen in the headlights.