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DAG: Hold steady and Don’t Derail

Turn on the news or read the daily newspaper and you’re likely to see another day’s collection of crime, trauma and business gone bad. Unemployment is up, downsizing and layoffs are commonplace, and economic woes cover the pages.

Our big picture view, our long-term perspective, gives way to attention-grabbing headlines which can impact our judgment. No doubt, it’s a tough challenge. Day after day facing bills, cash flow and sales challenges – it’s easy to see how one might lose sight of the norm.

Sometimes you just gotta breathe deep and focus further out on the horizon. Yes, you may have to forget about where you were tracking on your goals. You may have to adjust your timing on things, even lower some expectations, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dreams.

One of the hardest things for an entrepreneur to accept is taking a few steps backwards. Slipping back in growth, holding back on expansion, or treading water just goes against the grain of an entrepreneur. In this economy, however, holding steady is an accomplishment in itself.

Now might be a time to balance long-term thinking with short, incremental steps to recovery. Think ahead a couple of years. Where do you want to be two years out? Keep that in focus as you ponder decisions, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Instead, concentrate on stabilizing the now.

First, just look out one month at a time. What does it take to make it 30 days and hold steady? What do you have to do to maintain for that month? Then, look out to the next month and the next, but keep it in bite-size pieces so it doesn’t seem overwhelming. Build on smaller successes. Let go of some of those big lofty goals – just for a while.

Slowing down a business is like slowing down a freight train – hard to do it real quick. However, you’re much better to brake and reassess rather than risk a derailment because you didn’t let go of yesterday’s metrics.

Find your own perspective – not what you read in the news, not what your company goals from last year suggest, not what your financial history suggests. Take a fresh look. See what you have to do to maintain and posture. When the economy turns, and it will, you’ll regain momentum in no time.