Inc. Magazine has a great feature in their Jan/Feb 09 issue in which they asked their "favorite entrepreneurs for the tips and tricks they have used to pilot their business through difficult times. " One of the twenty three respondents just happens to be one of our favorite authors.
Here's an example of leading your company through the woods. My daughter has a small clothing shop in Missouri. It could be struggling. Upscale clothes are not a necessity, especially in a recession. As a business owner, she can have one of two attitudes: the woe-is-me, the-markets-are-so-bad attitude. Or the what-can-I-do-to-get-people-in-my-store attitude. She chose the latter. Her answer was to make her seven employees financially literate. She now has seven people who think like her. Instead of telling them how to arrange skirts and bras, she is telling them about inventory turns and margins and the relation between the two. Now it's the associates who are selling. It isn't a result of more money in advertising or marketing. It took me three years and a lot of persuading to get her to do this, but she finally has. In October 2007, the business did $55,000 in sales. In 2008, in this climate, it did $81,000. Those numbers say it all.Other respondents include Chip Conley, author of Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow (runner-up in the New Perspectives category of our 2007 Business Book awards), John Mackey of Whole Foods and Bernie Marcus of Home Depot. You'll either have to pick up the magazine to read the rest or wait until it's published online, because they still have the December issue up on the website.