Planning Ahead - April 29, 2009

Growing out of a recession

Bob CondronApril 29, 2009 

Bob Condron, CFP, MSFS, is a registered representative of Bridge Financial Partners. He can be reached at 548-8875 or bcondron@bridgefp.com.

In the current economy, many businesses are in a "bunker" mentality. That is to say, they are paring down workforces, slashing budgets and just trying to stay in business.

Unfortunately, this very behavior may extend a recession. We need to grow ourselves out of this morass.

Now, before you questioning my sanity, let's walk through this together. Not every business can succeed. There are businesses that flourish when people have a surplus of disposable income but are unsustainable when the money is tight. Try to imagine if you were selling pet rocks today.

The first step for recovery is how we see ourselves in the workplace. Whether you work for a large corporation or teach at a middle school, we all need to change the way we approach our job. How many times have you heard that 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work? That cannot continue. Every employee needs to rethink his or her position in the company. It doesn't matter whether your title is receptionist or president; everyone has to think like an owner, chief marketing officer and director of sales.

From the top down, we need to see ourselves as personally responsible for the success of the business.

I wanted to find out what programs were available to help businesses in today's marketplace, so I asked Rhonda Huskins, regional vice president for the South Carolina Manufacturers Extension Partnership. SCMEP's focus is on supplying small to mid-size South Carolina companies with the training, tools and processes they need to be more competitive.

Huskins pointed me to a new program offered by SCMEP specifically designed "to help companies accelerate profitable growth through real ideas that lead toreal growth." The program is called Eureka! Winning Ways. Developed by Doug Hall (inventor and former judge on the reality show "American Inventor"), the Eureka program has been used by well-known companies that produce products that you currently have in your homes. You can learn more about EWW by visiting www.scmep.org /eureka.html.

This is only one of many resources available to companies seeking assistance in growing their business. Other resources include: Chamber of Commerce (www.scchamber.net); the Department of Commerce (www.sccommerce.com); the Economic Developers Association (www.sceda.org) ECI FindNewMarkets (www.exportconsortium.com); the Small Business Development Center (http://scsbdc.moore.sc.edu); the Women's Business Center (www.scwbc.org/); the Service Corps of Retired Executives (www.score.org); and the U.S. Small Business Admin-istration (www.sba.gov). With unemployment reaching record levels, helping your company to flourish and grow not only helps the company and you but it also helps your community and your neighbor. A growing company can help put more people back to work and that, more than anything else, will help fix our economy.

Historically, our country has faced difficult times before and come out the stronger for having survived. I dare say that we will do so again this time and in the future.

If you want to discuss growing your business or have an idea that is working, and you are willing to share it with others, feel free to contact me (see below).

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