Business changed permanently because of this current recession. Permanently.

Businesses that adapt, will go forward, recover and grow. Those that don’t will struggle as they try without success to get things back to the way they were.

What’s changed permanently?


Lots of us woke up to having too much credit debt. It has been a bad time for many, many people. Millions lost homes. Millions lost jobs. Debts piled up. Interest on debt went through the roof for most.

As things settled, foreclosures slowed, credit payments caught up, the storm subsided. But it won’t be a return to the old ways.

Many of the people burned by this downturn are boomers. They don’t have time to start over in life unless they change lifestyles. They will use less credit.

Boomers make up most of the consumer market. Boomers aren’t going to carry 10 credit cards in their wallets after this little mess.

There will be less impulse buying. That means ads for consumer goods won’t pull like they used to.

This is a change, not a temporary thing caused by recession. Treat it as temporary, something your business can ‘wait out’ and you’ll never see recovery.

Change the way you do business and things will improve now. When money is tight and each purchase has a fear element, service really matters. If people can’t connect with you, they won’t want to do business with you. If you sell online you’d better have a person your customer can call or you’d better be the cheapest. That’s your choice.

Remember lay-away? Bring it back.

Get your customers on a list and give them ‘members only’ discounts.

When you send out an offer for “new customers only”, honor it with your existing customers. Why penalize loyalty?

Surprise your best customers with little extras. Anything. Throw in some batteries for free. Even a candy bar is nice. Anything that isn’t just blatant self-promotion is nice.

Here’s how to change your game plan. What if, starting today, you could no longer accept credit cards at your business? What would you?

Do those things. If a MasterCard comes out, okay, accept it. Of course. But don’t count on it.

Chris Reich