Sunday, February 8, 2009

Succeeding In Business In A Failing Economy

I was reading the McHenry County Business Journal on the train yesterday and came across an excellent little article by Catherine Jones. It was called Fearless Execution.

Here is how the article started out, "Do you find yourself spending at least a portion of each day thinking about the current state of the economy? Wondering how your business will be impacted? Are you preoccupied with budget concerns, looking for expenses that could be trimmed?

You'll likely find fear to be an underlying emotion behind these daily concerns that weigh heavily on each of us at the present time. Unfortunately, fear is not constructive and leads to becoming inwardly focused, diverting attention and necessary resources from the execution of the organization's mission."

"Changing your mindset from one of fear to what might best be described as fearlessness keeps the focus on the positive and fuels the optimism needed to courageously reach toward goals."

If I have seen one thread in the etsy forums regarding the economy and it's affect on our shops...I swear I have seen 100. I'm actually tired of them. If people spent as much time working on their shops as they do complaining about the economy, we would all have absolutely amazing shops!

Jones goes on to say that an Indiana University Horn Professor Jeff Nelson has developed techniques that he recommends to his students for fearless musical performance. His lessons would certainly work for all of us in business.

One of the thoughts is to raise your standards. Jones says to treat every day as a "new performance opportunity that demands the highest level of execution and attention to detail." I love this statement, "Close enough might have worked yesterday, but economic conditions today demand more." In our shops, that means awesome photos, great descriptions, purposeful tags and service way above and beyond.

Jones also talks about the planning process. If we have some type of plan already in place for our shops, we won't waste time everyday wondering what it is we could or should be doing. With a plan in place, you get into your workshop and you start creating or marketing or whatever your plan calls for.

This is perfect too, "When your attention is on the competition, your own performance suffers." In relation to our shops, if we sit and spend our time constantly concerned with what the other guy is doing and how they are doing it and if what they are doing is fair or proper and on and on....we are wasting valuable time we could be using to work on our own business.

There is nothing wrong with checking out the competition, but worrying about the competition does nothing to improve your shop or to bring yourself don't overdo it!

"We frequently limit our ability to design creative solutions by focusing attention on the negative. When an organization's concentration is on not failing, there is little attention left for creativity and innovation" Jones went on to say. If we sit and spend all of our energy thinking about what we can't do, we have no energy left to concentrate on what we can do.

Jones ends the article talking about setting what she calls "stretch" goals. She said that we often spend the same amount of energy to get so-so results as we could to accomplish so much more. She also suggests that you write down the successes and the things that went well....for us maybe that would be a weekly or monthly thing to do. Then take a look at what didn't go so well and look for ways to improve.

I mentioned yesterday that the huge mall I was at was packed with people......people in line making purchases. I made many of my own. The key is finding the people that are still looking to buy and directing them to your shop where you offer useful and unique items at a price they are willing to pay for wonderful handmade, high quality items!

So, think positive, find ways to improve your shop and make it the best it has ever been...then find the shoppers and bring them to your shop. Success is right around the corner!

Henry Ford once said, "Whether you think you can or think you can't...You're right!"


Cecile/DreamCreateRepeat said...

Interesting post. My husband has worked with entrepreneurs as a financial accounting consultant for several years now.....the successful ones all have lots in common: they are high energy, focused & 100% convinced they will succeed!

aliceinparis said...

You are so right. Time to focus on what we can do and do it rather than fret and worry about what is not in our control. Every situation has opportunity in it.
Cheers, Shelagh

Meekiyu said...

speak on! That's very true... i don't spend my time worrying about the economy I use it to make new items and retake pictures and revamp my store. Great post!


We make what we produce = a reminder to stay on course, work in the positive, and be open and ready to receive. "Give us our daily bread".
Forward march!

Jacaranda Designs said...

What a great read that was. I too am aiming every day to remain positive about my business. It is so true that if you focus on the negative, your creativity suffers. I keep thinking that as long as I can make it in a recession, then I should continue to succeed when the economy improves. Thanks for the article. I enjoyed it.

Lanyardlady said...

Now I am psyched! Thanks for sharing these great motivational thoughts!

Precious Quilts said...

How refreshing to read a blog that is concentrating on the positive!!! Being positive is much like smiling, uses less energy/muscles than groaning or moaning!

Now is the time to consolidate and move forward ready for the upturn which will happen. You will then be in complete control and ready!!!

Good luck!

Mama C said...

Thanks for the positive words. I am feeling pretty positive lately, despite the gloomy financial forecast. I'm just taking it one day at a time and enjoying what I am doing, trying to do it well and learn new things. So I really liked what you had to say. Great reminder.

Suanne said...

fantastic post. Thanks for the morale boost!

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