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Thursday, 22 July 2010 11:56

What Do We Do Now?

Written by Lee Amaradio Jr.

We all have worked really hard the last two years in anticipation of an upturn in the economy. What now? I haven’t seen much of an upswing. Although, as a matter of fact, I haven’t seen things get any worse either. We have made our adjustments and we just seem to be plugging along.

My problem is that I want things to return to the pre-recession economy. I find myself sitting on my hands wishing and waiting, instead of preparing for things to remain as they are. Things really could be much worse. Life is just life and as business owners we cannot beat ourselves up too badly when we find ourselves struggling in these tough times. If you are surviving in today’s economy you are getting ahead.

But I am not in business just to survive. I went in business to prosper.  I have been in business for over 30 years and, if I were to add it up, at least half of those 30 years have been spent in the survival mode. It has taken me a lifetime to learn one thing and that is business and life will always have its disappointments, so enjoy the good times while they last.

Business is much like a marriage. You really need to take the time to appreciate it when things are good, because tough times are coming.

That’s life. I can’t tell you why we never reach the top of the food chain, but I can tell you that you never will. Look at people like Bill Gates. You would think that he doesn’t have much to worry about but his life offers no more satisfaction then yours or mine.

I once had a very wealthy friend tell me that he was no smarter than me, nor di d he work harder. The only difference in his life compared to mine were that there were just more zero’s added to everything he did.

We cannot beat ourselves up over and over because of circumstances over which we have no control. We just need to keep on keeping on, and make the best decisions with the information we have. Remember ,even if you fail, there will be good that will come out of it. You’re not to blame that there is a limited amount of credit available to small business. You’re not to blame for this economy, but you must do your part and learn from these difficult times. But worrying and beating yourself will accomplish nothing.

So do we just quit caring? Absolutely not! We just quit worrying about the things that will never change and make your decisions based on today’s economy not the pre-recession economy.

I remember almost 20 years ago when I was struggling to make a go of two shops when the last recession hit and I was forced to close one location. In my efforts to succeed I borrowed money from friends and family, only to fail anyway. Not only did I close my second location but now I had a huge debt to pay off. I soon realized that shutting down the other location was my saving grace and wished I’d shut it down before borrowing any money.

The lesson I learned was that no matter how hard I worked or how much money I invested what happen to me would have happened no matter what I did. There was really nothing I could do to stop it. Looking back on it, it was a key element in driving my future success. I had so many people to pay back it forced me to become a more diligent and better businessman. The toys all went away because I learned to invest in my business first and never to rob my business capital to advance my lifestyle. Tough times can be a blessing. They will make you a better businessman or woman and you will develop character accompanied by wisdom. These are lessons you cannot learn in any school.

Find the good during these tough times and always look for opportunities to excel. Try to polish your business skills and remember to learn from your mistakes so you will be rewarded years in the future. I remember that I didn’t reap the benefits for what I went through until another ten years later. But the hard times, as hard as they seemed at the time, were all building blocks to the future.

You can only do what you can do. Always remember that in business there will always be some tough times when you need to ask yourself: What do we do Now?