By Stacey Curit
Sales & Marketing Specialist
Northeast Bank

The recession may have you worried about your finances, whether you are an executive, line worker or entrepreneur.
Remember, though, that most people keep their jobs and most businesses survive during even the deepest of economic downturns. In fact, many people learn lessons and find opportunities that make them – and their organizations – stronger in the long run.
Here are three strategies that you can use right now to improve your odds of success:
Take advantage of the slow economy to save money. Everybody talks about the very-real financial pinch that a recession causes: reduced sales revenue, falling wages and shrinking markets. However, those same pressures offer opportunities for cutting your costs.
Look for deals that may not have been there when the economy was booming, so that you can save money today and lock in good prices for the future.
Talk with your banker about whether this is the right time to refinance your debt, since interest rates have fallen along with the economy.
Take advantage of down time to reassess where you spend your money, with an eye toward making cuts that don’t hurt your core operations or lifestyle but do improve cash flow.
Make yourself too valuable to lose. When businesses make cuts, they start paying a lot closer attention to just how much value you bring, whether you are an employee, contractor or vendor. Those people and organizations that provide the most-essential work and goods will outlast others.
Find out what matters most to your clients or bosses during this period of financial stress, and make sure that you are exceeding their expectations in that area.
Let people know what you have accomplished for them and what you can do for them in the future. It’s a mistake to assume that they’ve noticed, particularly since most people have a lot of things on their mind these days.
Educate yourself, so that you are providing the most-innovative and highest-quality work possible. When there’s a lot of competition in the marketplace, standing still is falling behind.
Keep your eye on the future. Don’t behave as though the recession will last forever because it won’t. Use this time to differentiate yourself from others.
Recognize that you can gain market share and goodwill by sustaining service, quality and marketing efforts. If your competitors are just holding on, do what you can to climb the ladder ahead of them right now.
Network and build alliances. Talk with others about how you can help one another and what you are going through. The conversations will relieve some stress and offers direct support today, while making alliances that can serve you well in the future.
Stay visible and involved. Attend industry and community events; contribute your time to civic organizations, market your business and yourself with confidence. Don’t let people forget you. If you aren’t seen, people might think that you are a victim of the recession rather than a player.

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