For the moment the debt ceiling crisis has been averted, but it’s no secret there will be challenges in coming months for the small business ROI. 

Let’s start with the good news:  sales of luxury goods are up, corporations are sitting on a good deal of cash, the Federal Reserve has vowed to keep interests rates near zero, and a lot of people are pushing for quick remedial action. 

What’s the situation right now?  Fueled by the unprecedented Standard and Poor’s rating downgrade and abetted by economic distress impacting Europe, fiscal uncertainty will color business decision making at least for the rest of 2011. 

Until Thanksgiving business will hold its breath, watching and wondering whether the 12-member Super Committee will make the deficit reduction recommendations needed to avoid triggering automatic spending cuts in 2013.  The nail biting will continue until the Congressional vote in late December.

Given that situation and all that goes with it, today’s small business CEO survival kit should contain a leap of faith coupled with a good sense of humor just to stay the course. 

Don’t Toss Out the Baby with the Bathwater

Long-term marketing efforts should not be the first to go just because they may be hard to measure. In theory your initial business plan was based on a sound strategy and you have made prudent adjustments over time.  A review may suggest more revisions, but hoarding gold is not the answer.  Why uproot a solid foundation simply because it turns out it will take longer to build the house?  Trust the decisions you’ve already made, and just reduce the pace as needed. 

Better ways to save:

  • Shop carefully for office equipment and supplies
  • Risk the mayhem and reduce insurance coverage
  • Cut shipping costs
  • Eliminate interest charges by paying on time or in cash
  • Cancel all but essential memberships, frills and perks 
  • Postpone the new hire; instead use contract services or freelance services and/or offer incentives to the existing staff 
  • Barter for goods and services
  • Do some of it yourself, but only if it doesn’t detract from your core business.
  • If all else fails, employ robots!

Laughter Really is the Best Medicine

See how comic Stephen Colbert Explains the Debt Ceiling Deal & the Coming Super Congress.

Learn from the poem Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.   Look for the humor.  Find something to laugh at or at least smile about.   Your smile will be infectious. “Rejoice, and men will seek you.”  Network.  Be charismatic.  Let business find you.


Laugh, and the world laughs with you;

Weep, and you weep alone.

For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,

But has trouble enough of its own.

Sing, and the hills will answer;

Sigh, it is lost on the air.

The echoes bound to a joyful sound,

But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;

Grieve, and they turn and go.

They want full measure of all your pleasure,

But they do not need your woe.

Be glad, and your friends are many;

Be sad, and you lose them all.

There are none to decline your nectared wine,

But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;

Fast, and the world goes by.

Succeed and give, and it helps you live,

But no man can help you die.

There is room in the halls of pleasure

For a long and lordly train,

But one by one we must all file on

Through the narrow aisles of pain.

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