Ten Ways To Survive The Recession
"What, me worry?" - Alfred E. Newman
At first, no one wanted to say it. The government called it a "meaningful downturn", "negative growth" then "disappointing numbers". Then again, this is the same government that refers to peace as "permanent prehostility" and combat as "violence processing".

The "R" word started popping up. "We're in a recession," the government economist says. Of course, everyone else in the country had known it for months. Then war started, and everyone began disagreeing as to whether that was good or bad economic news. But as long as everyone agrees the recession is here, the question is what can you do to survive it? Here are 10 suggestions:

  Don't stop marketing - There's an old saying that in good times you should advertise, and in bad times you must advertise. When the economy is slow, you need every advantage you can get. Cutting back on advertising and marketing is a sure way to give that advantage to your competition.

  Hold on to what you've got - This isn't the time to leave the job you have in order to strike out in another direction. The grass may seem greener in another pasture, but it probably isn't - and chances are the other pasture is overcrowded anyway. The first rule of survival is to keep what you have.

  Pay attention - The economy may be slow, but the pace of world events these days isn't. Some of those events can have a direct effect on you. Surviving a recession is about finding whatever opportunities are still out there - it's a sure bet that those opportunities aren't going to come looking for you. So stay informed on every level: your business, local economy, the nation, and the world. The more you know, the better chances of survival.

  Be lean and mean - The sluggish economy means more competition for every job, so you've got to trim costs and expenses to the bone. Let's face it. The best way to win the heart of potential customers it to be their least expensive option. This doesn't mean cutting down on the quality of work - it just means cutting the fat out of your operation.

  Improve customer service - One way to hold on to what you've got is to make sure your current customers are very, very happy. Talk to them, find out what they need, anticipate their needs. And above all, deliver on your promises.
  Evolve new products - No one knows how long this recession will last. But one thing for sure: One day it'll be over. And when things start moving again, new products will be in demand. So while things are slow, spend extra time working on some hot new ideas. Later on, you'll be glad you did.

  Form strategic alliances - Being a lone wolf is tough right now. So look around and try to find one or more companies that might pool marketing and technical resources, at least in the short term. It's a great way to cut costs. And who knows? Maybe you'll be more successful working together than you ever were alone.

  Have a contingency plan - The time to start exploring your options is before you have to beat the bushes for your next meal. Think about what might happen if your current situation changes, and formulate a possible course of action, or better yet, several courses.

  Leave work at work - Since so many people work where they live, it's tough to separate your professional life from your personal life. But it's important that you do so. Don't spend 24 hours a day worrying about your situation. To the extent you can, make time for leisure and relaxation. Get completely away from work and work-related issues. It'll keep you sane.

  Don't get discouraged - Chances are, you'll be hearing a lot of bad news - people you know out of work, companies you recognize going belly-up, potential customers turning you down. But you can't give up. Keep going. Keep trying. That's the only way you can survive. Keep one thing in mind: It's the economy that's faltering, not your talent.
Right now, the government says that don't expect the current recession to be very deep, lengthy and severe. But then two months ago they couldn't even say the word. And the war is a huge wildcard that could change things for better or for worse. So stay loose, be ready for anything and make the famous words of Alfred E. Newman your official recession motto.