How to survive in a downturn

By: Kevin Duncan

Date: 10 November 2011

UmbrellaFigures show that more start-ups succeed when they start in tough times than those that don't. This may be something to do with starting prudently and keeping things that way, rather than starting with a more relaxed or even cavalier attitude. There are certain approaches that start-ups can take to stand a better than average chance of success. Most of it is to do with attitude. It may be tough medicine, but it works. Here are six suggestions.

1. Don't 'do gloomy'

No one wants to listen to someone moaning. The circumstances might be difficult, but you don't have to be miserable. If you are, you will probably lose customers fast.

2. Don't invoke a higher power

Bad performers often use the context of a recession to claim their company's poor performance is nothing to do with them – it's the economy, apparently. This isn't always true.

3. You only need one girlfriend

Complaining there is no work is like a man saying there are no women in his town. You only need one girlfriend or piece of work, so go and find it.

4. Good companies do the right things all the time

There is no difference between the things your business should do in a recession versus what you should be doing in any other circumstances. If you have to ask what to do differently in a recession, it may actually be too late.

5. Sometimes things go up, and sometimes they go down

Economies go up and down. You still need to earn a living, so you need to believe that your success is entirely in your own hands, and go for it.

6. Nip into the gap

You need to be dexterous enough to nip into the gaps that other businesses might have missed by being too cautious. Be flexible and keep coming up with new ideas.

This extract is taken from Kevin's recently published book – What You Need to Know About Starting a Business

Kevin Duncan – business adviser, marketing expert and author

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