How To Weather A Stormy Recession

Business Expert Reveals 7 Tips to Keeping Dry During an Economic Tsunami

Suzanne Caplan

Trying to get through the current recession can make people feel like a tree getting knocked around in a hurricane.

But we don't have to be victims, according to business turn-around expert and author Suzanne Caplan, chief blogger and founder of, an Internet business portal and social networking site for women over 50. Caplan believes that there are ways people can limit the damage of the recession and come out on top.

In the midst of a storm, people can sometimes tend to hide and cower and wait until it's over before emerging from their shelter. However, sometimes it is wiser to act, and seek higher ground.

In the storm of a recession, Caplan believes higher ground does exist. You just need to know where to look for it. She offers the following tips:

  1. If you are doing nothing because you think it can't get any worse; be assured that it will. Now is the time for action. Action is always preferable to inaction, because inaction spawns a pattern of victimization, and pins us down into a habit of only reacting to the bad, instead of planning for the better.

  2. The unknown is likely to be less threatening than you expect. This is particularly true about creditors; they have far less power than you may think. Tune out the noise until you are ready to work on a plan. Decisions made out of fear and anxiety are almost always the wrong ones, so take a breath and a blank piece of paper and write down a list of your liabilities and your assets and take stock of everything you can do to get the two lists to cancel each other out.

  3. Being Proactive is far better than being reactive. Once you know what you need to do with regard to any of your challenges, you should be the one to take the first action. Make it bold and with confidence. The more you play on your side of the field, the better off you are. Offense is easier to play than defense in this situation; you get to set the pace.

  4. If you are working in an industry at risk or for a company that seems vulnerable, now may be the time to move out on your own. Great fortunes are started in down times. Remember that most everyone shares one common trait with every successful entrepreneur – at one point or another; they've all worked for someone else, too.

  5. Think about taking over an existing business; there are owners who will finance the cost, particularly if they are close to retirement. Assets are very cheap at this point. Many business owners own more than one, and sometimes they are willing to sell off a profit-generating business in order to cover the losses of another. Take advantage of that condition to find an opportunity that matches your education, background and talents.

  6. The more diverse your clientele, the less likely you will be without sufficient income. Remember to market for growth. Don't simply cater to your existing customer base, but rather, open your business aperture to include non-traditional potential clients. Those customers represent growth and prosperity. Do not put all your eggs in one basket.

  7. If you are living in or driving an asset which is overleveraged (you owe more than it is worth), give serious thought to getting out from under it. Like many large concerns, it is better to take a one-time hit to dump an upside-down asset than it is to continuing to allow it to pull revenue away from you a little at a time.

"In a storm, people can either be victims, or they can take positive steps to rescue themselves," Caplan said. "The idea of mastering your destiny instead of letting circumstances master you is not a platitude or a bumper sticker. It is very real, and many of the most successful entrepreneurs discovered this reality at a time when they were at their lowest ebb."

About Suzanne Caplan:

Suzanne Caplan has spent the past three decades as an entrepreneur, starting in the early 70s when she assumed control of her family business, a small manufacturing company which she operated for 20 years. Going back to her original roots as a writer, Caplan had her first book published on the ups and downs of entrepreneurship in 1992 by Prentice Hall. Her last release was Streetwise Finance & Accounting by Adams Media in 2006, now considered a business best seller. She is working on Start Your Own Business & Hire Yourself to be published this winter.