By Dean Whittaker

Not talking about the economy would be like not talking about the 800 lb. gorilla in the room.  The global economy has gone through the equivalent of a myocardial infarction (heart attack), and we’ve been on life-support ever since.   Fear has taken over hearts and minds as we hoard cash (if we have any), fearful that things will get worse. Unfortunately, our fears often bring about the very things that scare us most.  The media-driven downward spiral has convinced consumers to postpone purchases, bringing about our greatest fear–loss of economic security.  I’ve written a lengthy article about where we’ve been, where we are, and where we may go.  Please click here to read the article.

In the meantime, we must do what the Harvard Business Review recommends for business planning–have three plans.  One plan is for conditions improving, a second for conditions staying the same, and a third for conditions deteriorating.

An SBDC (Small Business Development Center) in Montana gave me a wonderful idea–offer a program on the topic of managing your business in a recession.  I approached our local chamber with the idea and our first overview session will be offered Feb. 10th.  My intention is to turn it into a webinar to reach as many businesses as possible.  The purpose is to provide business owners with strategies and tactics to survive and even prosper during a downturn.   The key appears to be adapting quickly enough to changing economic conditions without overreacting–a tricky balance.

Lead with hope and confidence. Communicate factual information regarding the status of the local economy. All parts of the country are not experiencing the recession equally.  As I have said many times before, everything is cyclical. This too shall pass. We must avoid thinking in a linear fashion in a cyclical world.