"What, me worry?" - Alfred E. NewmanAt 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".
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.
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.