Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve! Achieve! Andrew Carnegie

Over the next several months, those of us in business are going to hear a lot of bad economic news and dire predictions for 2008. Many businesses are already experiencing downturns. Things are going to get very ugly, very soon.

There is much that can be done to not only mitigate the effects of recession on your business, but, you might come out ahead. You can have an edge as we head into recession.

First, pay attention to the quote which opens this post. Cling to the words. If you don’t believe you are going to make it through this recession, quit now.

Second, get as much business coaching as you can, as soon as you can. If you and your people can work together more efficiently using the tools you already have, your team will have a decided advantage.

Here are some areas that need to be mastered immediately by everyone at your business.

  1. Email. If you are a slave to Outlook instead of Outlook being a valuable assistant, get help with it. Outlook should should be saving your hours per week and miles of paper.
  2. Excel. Not all data are information but some are. (It takes a while to get used that as correct grammar but it are.) If you can’t build a spreadsheet and create a simple graph within 10 minutes, get some executive training. You don’t need an 8 hour Excel class. An hour of focused training will do. Skip the group thing. One-on-one is best.
  3. Assess your customer service from the top down. If you think you’re really good, try an inexpensive survey to verify your conclusion. Get some customer service training. Customer service training will always pay for itself with returning business.
  4. Focus. Your business must focus like a laser on being the best. If you deliver an “okay” product with excellent service, you’ll be fine. Your margins will be better than your competitors if your business is focused.
  5. Have more meetings. It’s true. You need more meetings but those meetings need to be short, focused and ALWAYS within the allotted time. Meetings must never go over the pre-specified time by even a minute.
  6. Evaluate and tune your online presence. URGENT. You can have a ton of free advertising if you focus. Don’t have time to think about the website right now? Big mistake. It’s like having a super employee but you don’t have time to tell him what to work on.

Some of these can be accomplished through an online meeting. Sometimes it’s just better to work in person. That’s up to you. Just get started with these 6 and you’ll be way ahead of most of your competitors as we move into the year.

Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog
[email protected]