4 Steps: How to stay up when…

Keeping a positive perspective can mean the difference between your business’ success and failure.


When business is slow, the potential consequences are frightening and vivid for entrepreneurs. Will you bring in enough this month to make payroll and cover the overhead? Will your business be able to pay you this month? On the upside, entrepreneurs don’t have to wait and wonder if they’ll be the next to get laid off. Rather, they have the ability and responsibility to go out and make business happen.

Whether you’re a home-based entrepreneur who is hearing no more frequently these days or the owner of a company employing thousands, by keeping a positive perspective, you’ll be more productive—and more successful. And if you’re an employee, maintaining a positive, entrepreneurial mindset will not only make you more effective and but also more valuable to your company.

How can you stay up when business is tough?

It’s largely a matter of focusing on what you can control—starting with your attitude.

In The Likeability Factor, Tim Sanders points out that those with a high “L-factor,” those who tend to smile at and engage others, are often more successful at work. They’re more likely to be promoted and less likely to be laid off than their grouchy counterparts.

Zig Ziglar puts it this way in Ziglar on Selling: “I don’t believe positive thinking will let you do ‘anything,’ but I know that positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will. Positive thinking will let you use the ability you have, while negative thinking prevents you from fully using your ability.”

So, start with attitude, and then use your attitude to focus on the actions you can take. It may require more effort to build and maintain momentum in the current economy, but as things continue to turn around, you’ll have the edge over the competition.

Here are 4 things to consider applying to your business:

* Focus on income-producing activities. When business is slow, reorganizing your desk drawers, sorting e-mail or other mind-numbing tasks can fill the hours. But a clean desk won’t pay the bills—unless you’re a professional organizer and it’s someone else’s office. There are usually only a few things in any business that really generate income. Make a list of your income-producing activities. Whether business is booming or times are tight, those activities should always be at the top of your—and your employees’—daily to-do list.

* Make your clients’ needs the priority.
If you approach prospective clients with the underlying attitude for “I really need this sale,” they’ll feel it. They’ll perceive that your main objective isn’t to serve them, but to make money off of them. But, when they get the vibe that you’re going to do right by them and serve them with integrity, they’ll know they can trust you. In turn, they’ll be much more likely to give you their business.

* Don’t stop when you hit your yes quota.
In Go for No, authors Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz point out that when people hit or come close to reaching their goal, they start to slow down. Rather than striving for a certain number of yeses, they suggest striving for a high number of nos. In doing so, you’ll likely keep going, which will result in more clients and more sales.

* Work to create a positive environment—even if you’re not the boss.
In Thank God It’s Monday, author Roxanne Emmerich notes that leadership is not a position; it’s an attitude. Regardless of your title, you can make a positive impact on your company. Her suggestion: List three things you would do if you were in charge. “Set about doing all you can to change those things—enrolling others to your ideas, getting necessary approvals, lining up a budget or coaching others around you to go ‘get it.’ And watch the magic happen.”

Original article by Erin Casey.

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