Getting Through the Downturn

Every day the news gets grimmer. The stock market is falling. Unemployment is rising and budgets are getting slashed. Many people and companies are feeling the pain.

This hit home for me when one of our larger clients began reducing their budgets, and it’s echoed as I talk to friends and fellow business owners. They have all froze hiring and are tightening belts.

Yet, there are rays of hope shining through the gloomy news. It’s all about what you focus on. Here are some things to keep in mind to get you through:

It’s not 1929: As much as people like to compare current times to the Great Depression, there are a lot of differences. Unemployment is nowhere near 25% and (thanks to FDIC) when a bank goes under your savings will not be lost. We’ve learned from the Great Depression and put policies in place to help prevent (or at least soften the blow) of another.

Economies have cycles: The market goes down and the market goes up. The key is to take advantage of it and invest at the right time. The market will go back up at some point and most likely in a dramatic way. In fact, if you are a long term investor this is a great time for you to be putting money in the market. You will be getting bargain basement prices and a lot of stock for your money — ever heard the phrase “Buy low, Sell high”?

Focus on what you have: Sometimes I think it’s best to ignore the doom and gloom of the media. It’s depressing to read the paper everyday and hear about how companies are closing and the market is dropping. Instead remember that you are still richer than 99% of the world. I assume you have clean drinking water? I assume your family is safe from famine and war? I assume you live on more than a dollar a day? Then don’t forget that you are rich when compared to most of the world.

Innovate your way out: Many great companies were started in downturns including FedEx, Microsoft, Starbucks, GE, Trader Joe’s and HP. Sometimes a downturn is what’s needed to shake people out of their cushy jobs to really pursue their dreams. There’s also opportunity in a downturn. I have friend that runs a repo company and business is booming!

“I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.” -Louisa May Alcott