I was with a client last Friday, and the recession came up. When I mentioned how lucky we are to be entrepreneurs he looked startled. " You and I, " I continued, "we have the opportunity to make choices, to adjust to our environment. All those folks in cubicle-land are just waiting for the ax to fall, or not, depending on somebody else's ability to adapt to hard times."
I'm focusing my attention on San Francisco based businesses, I'm offering cost savings tools and I'm addressing client's financial concerns head on. People are feeling cautious, even when they take on a new project or go solo. Planning and rigorous assessment are important steps that I include in my offering. I'm adapting to the new market's terrain, and that's the opportunity of being an entrepreneur in a recession.
An economic downturn is like a crucible. It burns off fat and distraction, leaving our strongest values and commitments. What we gain is structure and stability once the fires have died down. We have been adding new projects: Web 2.0, the green movement and faith-based politics for the last 8 years. We will see what's truly sticky, and what just constituted big talk, after the ashes cool.
I especially appreciate the recession's effect on my fellow entrepreneurs. Relentless optimism is pretty easy in easy times, but character is revealed through adversity - it sure is true that relentless optimism is the best tool available to us now.