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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Terry’s Tips And Technologies To Tackle Tough Times

By Terry L. Brock

“Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.” Robert Schuller.

We’re supposed to be experiencing an “economic slow-down.” The so-called experts are telling us that times are hard and we need politicians to “do something.”

Yikes! I don’t know about you, but every time I’ve seen politicians “do something” it means we better grab and hold on firmly to our wallets. Good intentions often end up with very poor results, Milton Friedman used to tell us. Often the best thing for government to do is nothing and the best thing for you and me is to kick ourselves in the backside to get moving.

Yet, in the midst of an economy that could be performing better, we see great opportunities. Many have said that the Chinese symbol for crisis represents danger and opportunity. Expert Sinologist and Chinese Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Victor Mair disputes that saying that it really means crisis and danger. (See his excellent work at: However, I still believe that there is opportunity in every hard time. Napoleon Hill wisely informed us years ago that each setback or failure carries with it the seed of equal or greater benefit.

I’ll go with Napoleon Hill on this one.

So, what opportunities are there and what can small businesspeople like you and me do in the midst of an economic slowdown (or whatever euphemism we choose to assign to these times)?

Strange that you would ask (as I’d say in my seminars) but I’ve got some ideas for you that can help you immediately---as in when you put down this paper or click off this web page.

Here are some tips and technologies that can help you tackle --- and defeat --- tough times.

Be Resilient. Bouncing back is the key to success anywhere. Charles Darwin was right about his concept of survival of the fittest. Some might not like to embrace that but it is true. Survivors are those who can adapt (quickly) and meet new environments. Others are weeded out. This happens long-term and it happens in the short-term. Build resiliency into your mental and physical stamina to overcome obstacles. Keep coming back when knocked down and you will make it. Think of the character played by Paul Newman in “Cool Hand Luke,” No matter now many times you’re knocked down, you can still get back up to fight. Just use judgment and know when to duck!

Be Flexible. A great song back in the 60’s sang, “Only the Strong Survive.” I understand the message of that but would modify it to say not the strong, but the flexible--- the adaptable--- survive. Those who can adapt to changing times thrive. Just building a better cart or buggy whip wouldn’t have beat the new-fangled horseless carriage of the late 1800’s and early 1900s. However, those who were flexible enough to stop building buggies and modify their knowledge of buggy-building (good term, huh?) into car-building not only survived but did very well, thank you.

Make New Plans. What worked before was good back then. That was then. This is now. New times call for new plans that comprehend the landscape today. This means you’ve got to study. How many books have you read in the past month? How many lectures have you attended? Hey, they are on the Net now in video form---for free! There is no excuse for not being educated! Get educated in areas that matter and make new plans.

Embrace New Technologies To Serve Buyers
. Don’t just get nifty, cool technologies. Hey, I know how tempting it can be. Focus on practical benefits for your buyers. Here are a few new tools that I like: 1) Tekkeon’s new MP1550. It is a battery-powered phone and PDA charger. Stay in touch with important people when your battery dies. 2) Ri-Data’s USB storage and extender. I love this little tool. I have a 1GB storage and it has a Y-form to allow for 2 additional USB devices. Cost for the 1GB is about $20. Nice. 3) – this is a great tool which is free for now. Call a toll-free number and you can leave a message. This message is transcribed automatically and sent to you via email. This is a great tool to jot quick thoughts and notes from your cell phone. This has been a great boost to my own productivity in many ways.

There are a lot more ways you can do more than just survive but thrive in tough times. Hey, this will be a great time to buy a bunch of bargains as you do the right things and others have to drop their prices. You’ll do better in business and have more money so you can buy more assets and income-generating tools at cheaper prices. Many millionaires made their money during hard times buying bargains and then reaping the benefits later.

Sounds like a good combination to me. Somehow I think Robert Schuller would agree.

Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and columnist who helps businesses market more effectively, leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their days using time-honored rules and practical technology tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Copyright © 2008, Terry Brock, Achievement Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used without prior written permission.