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How to Thrive through This Recession, Jack Canfield Style

Susan L. Reid

We’re hearing a lot about the economy lately.

In fact, just this week, Alan Greenspan actually said “the r word” by announcing that the United States is in a recession. Our last recession, from 2001-2003, was due to the collapse of the dot-com bubble, the September 11th attacks, and accounting scandals such as Enron. There were also recessions in the early 1990s and early 1980s.

In fact, for the last 30 years, the U.S. has gone through a recession once every decade. There’s no indication that this will change in the future. Burying your head in the sand will certainly spell disaster for your business. Gritting your teeth to weather the storm will only increase your blood pressure and keep you up at night.

The good news is that a recession is not a depression. It’s unlikely that we will ever go through something like the Great Depression again. However, it’s quite possible that this will not be our last recession. To be successful, you need to become informed about what a recession is and what steps you can take to thrive in the midst of one.

What is a Recession, and What Can You Do about it?

Falling DollarsA recession is a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced. It is identified by a decline in a country's gross domestic product (GDP), or negative economic growth, for two or more successive quarters. In short, a recession means a steady, prolonged decline in sales.

As a small business owner, you’ve experienced a decline in sales before. It’s a normal part of any sales cycle. Question is: When you’ve had a drop in sales in the past, what did you do? Did you just wait, hoping for things to get better? Or, did you take decisive action to nip things in the bud and turn things around? If you are a successful small business owner – someone intent on creating a constant and steadily increasing cash flow – then you know the importance of taking informed, resolute action.

Jack Canfield, too, knows about decisive action. He’s famous for his rags-to-riches story of how he committed to contacting five people a day to promote his book, Chicken Soup for the Soul. The key to his success was his commitment to action. Not just any old action, mind you. Aligned, well-thought-out, purposeful action. Jack knew he had a monumental task in front of him: promoting an unknown book by an unknown author. Each day he took action to increase name recognition, forge connections, and build sales.

Five Simple Steps for Thriving through a Recession, Jack Canfield Style

1. Get back to basics

Recession game planRecessions are good for all things that begin with “re.” Re-group, re-organize, re-view. Revisit the fundamentals that have already made your business a success. Revise your mission statement to stand for what your business is really all about. Reject rejection. Practice Jack’s “Rule of Five”: Every day, do five things that will move you toward your goal.

2. Clean up your act

Recessions are a great time, Jack advises, to clean up your messes. Now, when sales are slow, finish anything that is incomplete. De-clutter your office and organize your files. Make phone calls to bridge any disconnects that may have occurred between you and your customers. Magnify your success energy by focusing on what you want to happen, not what you are experiencing.

3. Focus on your connections and relationships

Recessions are the perfect time to forge new connections and strengthen long-standing relationships. Practice uncommon appreciation. Review your agreements with clients and confirm your commitment to them. Speak first and with integrity. Be impeccable in your communication. Meet for breakfast instead of over the phone. Supplement emails with handwritten cards and notes.

4. Be smart with your money

Recession dollarsRecessions are the natural time for small business owners to review their financials. Take a look at your cash flow. Collect on any outstanding accounts. Don’t fall into lackful thinking by clutching and holding onto your money. Spend wisely. Make sure your bills are paid. Above all else, give more. Keep your energy flowing by finding a way to serve others.

5. Step back

Recessions are the ideal time to practice stepping back in order to keep things in perspective. Instead of energetically aligning with all the fears, doubts, and anxieties associated with a recession, step back and move to higher ground. Don’t get caught up in others’ panic. Soar above it all to a place where clarity can be gained and perspective maintained. While you’re at it, take others with you. As Jack says, “When you lift up others, they will lift up you.”

No one likes feeling uncertain about the future. Yet nothing is ever certain, whether or not we’re in a recession! By taking decisive action now, you can positively influence your future. When this recession ends, don’t let your company be one that just managed to survive.

Practice Jack’s Rule of Five and thrive.

Copyright © 2008 by Susan L. Reid

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Copyright ©2008 by Susan L. Reid, DMA

Dr. Susan L. Reid is a business coach and consultant for entrepreneurial women starting up businesses, and is the award-winning author of Discovering Your Inner Samurai: The Entrepreneurial Woman’s Journey to Business Success. If you are ready to take the first steps in owning your business, then get instant access to your own free PDF copy of “Doing What You Love: Multiple Streams of Passion” at 

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