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The Top 10 Things You Can Do to Survive the Current Economic Slump
Gregory A. Ketchum, Ph.D.

Get Back to Your Purpose: Why are you doing what you do? Easy to slip away from that purpose in the everyday seeking of biz, and yet your purpose and being connected to it and speaking from your passion is one of your best marketing tools.

Redefine Your Expectations: Success is not linear, although we’d like it to be. We need to adjust our expectations of ourselves during this slump.

  • Now we have to deal everyday with diminished opportunities and the emotional fallout from that, keeping ourselves motivated and pointed in the right direction everyday.
  • Success today is like the The Bee Gees Song Staying Alive. Success is staying alive long enough to get through this recession. Success is keeping moving forward. Success is getting up everyday and hitting the phones for biz, or showing up for work and doing the best you can to add value.
  • All our expectations got out of whack in the dot come bubble.

Re-evaluate Your Goals & Strategies For Achieving Them: Sit down with a coach/friend and review your business plan or career plan for 2003.

  • Are you on the right course, what haven’t you considered, who haven’t you talked with, what new markets could you tap? Should you stay in your current position, company?
  • Put together a list of questions for them to take you through. You need that unbiased, outside perspective.
  • Identify everything you can do to position yourself for success in the recovery.
  • Switch from do you have immediate opportunities to, can we meet and start a partnership for the future?

Network Like There's No Tomorrow. It’s like Field of Dreams. Build the relationships and the work will come.

  • Your focus is critical here, on the work or the relationship. You can feel it when someone is trying to use you, not partner with you to build something that will benefit both of you.
  • Approx 65 – 80% of people get jobs through networking. 15- 20% on the internet, 10-15% recruiters, 5-10% through direct targeting.

Development Now: Just spoke with Cisco on Tuesday. John Chambers knows he can’t pay folks the big bonuses but he can offer them development.

  • Develop yourself. Take that class you’ve been thinking about.  Get some sales skills training or marketing or consulting skills.
  • Learn how to trust and let go, Andrea. Our natural tendency when under stress is to tighten up, hold on tighter, to try to control more. It’s counter intuitive, but we have to learn how to open up more, how to take more risks. How to do your part and then trust that the rest will follow. Ultimately, playing it safe is the most dangerous course.

The Future Belongs to the Innovative and the Creative: The higher the uncertainty & bigger the slowdown, the more you need to be resourceful, creative and flexible to get biz in the door or stay alive on the job.

  • Be on the lookout constantly for new ideas, ways of doing things, partnerships, connections between things that haven’t been connected, new people, new opportunities.
  • Reclaim old interests and blend them into the fabric of today.
  • Get closer to the revenue stream.

Do Your Homework: Sharks: Always heard they have to keep moving forward or they die and we’ve got to do the same. Research, research, research.

  • Go on Google and do some research: success in an economic downturn and read their stories.
  • Only 25-35% of all open positions at most large corporations are listed on the top job boards. Check out directemployers.com.
  • Read, research, talk to people. Before any biz meeting be super prepared. Find out where the pain points are.
  • Talk to folks in other parts of the company to see what openings may be coming up.

Resist Price Cutting as a First Option: I understand the pressure to cut pricing (or give things away, do more with less) and that’s a reality in a recession.

  • However, there’s a fundamental truth about human nature: if we get it for less, we value it less. If we can get it for less, we never feel we should have to pay full fare again., ie. Air fares.
  • Find ways to give your customers the understanding that they are receiving more for the prices they are paying.
  • Show them the cost of the route they’re considering, instead of using you or paying you what you’re worth (opportunity cost).
  • Peel the onion, see what’s behind their request & if there is another way of meeting it (no money up front, spread payment out over longer time period). Value based selling.
  • It’s a tradeoff if you’re asked to do more with less. “What would you like me to let not do?”

Don’t Panic: It’s faith, not fear. It’s much easier to panic and let your fears run away with you than to maintain a positive outlook.

  • Avoid desperation! It can hang over you like a cheap suit.
  • You’ve got to find a way to keep yourself centered and positive each and every day. I have my mantra “faith not fear”.
  • This is a time to do your part, but faith is the other part. How good are you at living in faith?

Ask For the Business or the Commitment: It seems simple and obvious, but it’s not.

  • Often our tendency is to show up, showcase what we do, and assume that the we want biz is obvious.
  • Remember this: YOU HAVE TO ASK FOR THE BUSINESS or the COMMITMENT. If they don’t have business now, you have to ask for a commitment to give you a shot at the next biz opportunity.
  • Here’s why: Scientific American “Art of Persuasion.”

® 2003 All rights reserved. Gregory A. Ketchum, Ph.D.



Points to Ponder
“If you're going through hell, keep going.”
Winston Churchill

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