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How many businesses are looking for the opportunity in the midst of economic crisis? Everywhere I go I am hearing how bad the economy is and how people just need to hunker down and wait it out. That decision might just be the death of a once thriving business. You see the skeletons everywhere of once dynamic companies who forgot to pay attention to the marketplace and lost their edge. History shows us that it is the individuals and organizations that look for the opportunities within the downturn that will survive and thrive. I am speaking here of the innovators among us who know how to turn ‘lemons into lemonade’.

It isn’t easy to look within to how we may have been contributing to our own demise and what changes we might need to make in doing business to dig us out and begin creating profits again. During downturns smart businesses will be looking within on what they can do differently rather than on which employees to cut. Those very people might offer critical information to help a company survive. Unfortunately many employers do not see their employees as their greatest asset. Common sense should convince us that our businesses are built on the people who do all of the critical jobs that make up the entire business. No job should be overlooked in terms of its importance to the overall success of an organization.

So why is it when the going gets tough, the first thing employers do is lay off? Obviously sometimes it must come to that but I maintain if an organization is not asking the following questions, they are heading down a dark and slippery slope. Here are a few hard questions to ask: “Where might there be some opportunities in all of this economic mess?”, “How can we improve operations?”, “How might we build high performance teams?”, “What types of training do our teams and leaders need?”, What other businesses can we partner with to create a win win, and “Which items can we drop from the budget without hurting our ability to grow the business?”

There is an old saying that when the going gets rough, the tough get going and that is exactly what needs to happen. If you are still doing the same old things to address this very different economy, you are shooting yourself in the foot. The best thing you can do right now is to take aim and rally the troops. Start looking at where you want to grow with your business, do some staff development and training and begin asking yourself and your employees some of those tough questions I mentioned above!

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