How To Cope With Hard Times

It is interesting that almost no one notices shortcoming, defects and issues in their business when times are good. It seems to take a business downturn to make an entrepreneur take notice and to do something about things when times get a little hard.

Don't Just Stand There

A dear friend of mine sent a poem to me the other day—I’ll get to it in a moment because it is very pertinent to the theme of this article—stay tuned.

The poem reminded me that the situations we are now living in are troublesome to say the least. It is the time for us to begin to observe what’s up. The business as well as the overall political circumstances you, me and absolutely everyone we know is pretty overwhelming and, more often than not, quite challenging.

We’d all well advised to assess if and how we specifically are being affected or involved.

Immediately after we get some concept of the prevailing predicament we need to quickly distill that information to an analysis.

And, as soon as we get the analysis, we can ascertain the decisions we intend to adopt. That’s the key—analyze first and decide second.

It could require great fortitude!

Every client and potential I have has seen their businesses impacted by the current economic climate.

It’s interesting to see how each one of them is coping with the plight they are in.

Some are flourishing, others recovering a bit while still others are continuing to experience severe negative results. A few are gone.

Times like these expose weaknesses.

These newly exposed shortcomings include issues with people, systems, customers, vendors, policies, procedures and the like.

The point is, all of the weaknesses were there—the current times have exposed them.

Funny how that works—good times mask the issues and bad times make them clear! When things are going great, many business owners see a picture like this lake:

Beautiful Lake

When times get tough, it is like someone drained the lake and all of the pre-existing issues are now visible:

Dirty Lake Bottom

Once something like economic hard times create clarity and shine a light on the problems and opportunities, changes have to be made.

Some of the changes required are painful. Actually, nearly all change is painful to someone. Since most of us don’t like to inflict pain on anyone, changes are not made as soon as they should be.

Let’s look at an example of a tough decision requiring guts. For the last year or more and continuing even now, many people are losing their jobs. Each of them needed to get told of their situation by someone and in some fashion.

The person(s) who make that decision and execute it are the ones I am talking about—the ones needing the fortitude.

The poem I received, Rudyard Kipling’s “If”, made me think of this.

Oh, by the way, that’s an actor, not the poet. Pretty clever right?

It certainly make the points I have teed up in this article.