10 things businesspeople can do to adapt in the new economy

It’s rough out there.  Customers have lost their discretionary income.  Some have no income at all.  If you do business to business  then you know budgets have been severely cut back.  It seems like nobody’s buying.  So what do you do while things are slow.

10.  This economic situation is temporary and if you can wait it out, times will be good again.  But the world will be different and you can be ready for that.  While things are slow, use the time to reevaluate your business strategy.  Who are your customers and what do they really want?   Now’s the time to go visit or call or email them and ask!  You might be the only business person who does, making you stand out.

9. Catch up on your reading, and not just books but online resources as well. Often the most relevant information is available on the web first.  Set up news alerts and RSS feeds for the area you are in.  Keep tabs on the new thinkers, not just the old faithfuls – they might end up redefining your world. 

8. Make some new friends.  If you’re on Twitter, try going to a TweetUp, or Jelly. Try some new activities in your business or home community.  Ask someone new out for a coffee, someone in a different business entirely.  Ask them about their business and interests.  Be curious and open and you may synthesize ideas into something no one else in your industry has thought of.

7. Start a conversation.  Start a blog, join Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.  Sharing your knowledge for free and being transparent about your thoughts and actions is the new business model.  It gives people a sample of the kind of thinker and communicator you are and creates trust and connection.

6. Learn something new, go to a class, try a webinar.  The possibilities are enormous for learning new skills and methods of doing what you do.  Also, the connections you make at learning events can open doors to new ideas and customers.  While you’re learning, take the opportunity to connect with others in the audience or class and find out what kind of work they do, how they do it and genuinely seek to keep in touch.  This isn’t about selling something – it’s about creating authentic connections.

5. Help someone else.  Mentor a young business person.  Provide free speaking engagements to chambers of commerce, Rotary clubs, colleges and universities and other business groups.  Write articles.  Volunteer for organizations that provide services you are passionate about and get to know the people involved.  

4. Focus on your strengths. Here’s where you start looking inward and perhaps start making some changes.  Start by understanding your values and strengths.   Take the VIA signature strengths test  to identify the strengths that come most easily to you.   Then work on projects that align with your values and use those strengths.  Try some of the other questionnaires on the site as well – learn what makes you tick.

3. Check your intent.  When you connect with customers do you intend to create a relationship or simply to sell a product and move on?  Do you intend to adapt to changing circumstances, even if you don’t yet know how, or are you content to join the grim chorus calling for the end of the world?  Be honest.  People can smell a snooker a mile away.  And remember that optimism is contagious and your customers will sense your good intent, strength, optimism and belief in your business, and be attracted to you.

2. Think and act positively.  An accurately positive attitude, including confidence and optimism about things you can control, is attractive.  People want to be surrounded by, and support, positive influences, especially now.  Seek out others who have the same approach and who will support you looking for opportunities to make realistic and achievable changes.  Lead the change you want to see.

1.  Ask for help.  People love to help, both professionally and personally.  In addition to the help you receive, you can make some great connections by asking experts to help you.  And one day you will be able to help in return.

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