When the economy struggles, you don't have to

Originally published: 03.01.09 by Ruth King


Even through tough times, if you're taking positive steps, your business can thrive.

It's time to get proactive again. Many, many times I've written that we all have choices about what we do in tough times. Some people figuratively crawl under the covers and wait until the media says the bad times are over to do anything. They live in the reactive mode rather than the proactive mode. The good times will be good for them. The bad times will be bad for them.

The tough people keep making telephone calls, talking with clients and prospective customers, and they keep a positive attitude. The good times will be great for them. The bad times won't be too bad for them —maybe the bad times will even be good.

Are there tough times now? Absolutely. Are there still people buying? Absolutely. As Mike Ratchford, one of the HVAC Cool Track leaders, has said, the days of consumption are over. The days of value buying are here.

Are people still spending money? Yes. Are people going to think before parting with their money? Yes. You need to give them a good reason to do so. Someone is buying something every minute. They might as well be buying it from you.

I'm working with, and know of, contractors who have prospered in 2008 despite the down economy. I talked with one contractor who complained that he was going to earn only 10% in 2008. Some gave tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses because they had great years. Others were busy throughout the holiday season. Still, others have bought the mailing lists and telephone numbers of companies who have gone out of business. They've found customers and niche areas that are still growing and need HVACR or allied services. They've all continued\ to talk with their clients and customers.

So, what do you do when your back is up against a wall? Go through last year's service tickets. You'll find work there. Go through last year's proposals that you never closed. Find out what happened. You'll find work there. Entice them with free groceries—everyone has to eat!

Look for growing industries in your area. Remember that the tobacco, liquor, and cosmetic industries have always thrived during recessions and depressions. Companies in all of these areas all need HVACR work. People who work in these industries need heating and air conditioning in their homes.

Do something positive every day. Don't go to sleep listening to the news. That's depressing and will stew in your subconscious mind all night. Read, listen, or watch something positive instead. Talk with a customer or potential customer every day. Call people rather than wait for the telephone to ring. You'll ease the pain of the bad times and potentially turn it into good times for you.


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