For many the real New Year’s Day is Labor Day. Summer is over, kids are back to school and we start anew. January 1st is just another day in the winter but Labor Day is a real transition. In the economic climate of 2010 a new start should be welcomed but for many we allow the excuses to stifle our lives and our businesses. The fact is—we have a lot of choices in life and many people make poor choices and blame them on others. Many poor people are happy and see better days; many sick people are optimistic and see a future; many rich people are distraught and see the world going to pot; and many healthy people are unable to see their good fortune. A college football player transferred from Oklahoma to Michigan State. He was a highly regarded quarterback but didn’t see a future in playing time at Oklahoma then competed for a starting position at his new school. Through a series of events and injuries it turned out that had he stayed in Oklahoma he probably would have been their starting quarterback this year. At Michigan State he was beaten out for the quarterback job and moved to wide receiver. When asked if he had regrets he said, “I can be bitter or get better. I plan to become an All-Big 10 receiver this year.” As business owners we need to take the same attitude.
The economy has been bad. You know what—it has been bad for your competitors too. We can be paralyzed by the economy or we can figure out how to use it to our advantage. If we increase market share and solidify our customer base we will emerge on top when the economy does turn. Have you been running your business so poorly that you can only survive in a strong economy?
Washington does nothing to help us. You know what—they aren’t helping your competition any more. Is complaining about others getting a bail out or the national debt going to improve your business? Washington isn’t doing nothing—are we positioning our companies to take advantage of their actions? Have you run your business so poorly that you can only succeed when the government bails you out?
There are dozens of people chasing the work that I used to get. You know what—you used to be one of those people chasing the work of others. Have you solidified your relationships and your processes so that others can’t get your work? You are not entitled to get work just because you have been in business for 20 years and if you are still running your company like it is 1999 you probably won’t retain your customers. Are you making the advances that are needed to stay ahead of the curve?
You can choose to get better or you can choose to get bitter. Your choice. Take this Labor Day to implement a new beginning and a new attitude. Do a Minding My Own Business Workshop to examine your company. Write your business plan and then tear it apart with a professional to make sure you are on course. Implement a management counsel and get the ideas of your key employees in the open. Embrace change. Those afraid of change are doomed—the only constant that you can be assured of is that the pace of change will accelerate even more.