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A Thousand Answers to The Big Question

The question was:

What measures should small businesses take to weather this economic downturn?

It was asked 13 days ago on LinkedIn by Chad Moutray, chief economist of the SBA.

As of this morning, there were more than 1,000 answers.

Would you like a summary? Well, yes, me too … but it’s more than 1,000 answers. I spent some time there browsing. With 36 pages of answers, the recession might be over — or become a depression — by the time you or I read them all.  I’m not claiming to have read more than the first few pages of them, but here’s an digest version (quote or paraphrase, with my comments in brackets):

  • Cash flow, cut costs, sell better, depends on type of business, engage customers, cash flow, cut costs, sell better, engage customers, depends on the type of business cash flow … [lots of repetition.]
  • Comprehensive business plan, sales forecast, pessimistic scenarios … review, revise the plan. If you don’t have a plan, get one, and, more important, planning.
  • More and more on cash flow, liquidity, expenses, customers, better sales … [on and on forever — not that they aren’t all right, but I’m amazed at how many answers seem to repeat previous answers.]
  • Global markets. Lots of global markets. [fat chance. I’ve spent a good percentage of my career consulting in international business, particularly high-tech channel partners. Sure, there are always exceptions (Jerry Lewis), but in general, if you can’t make it in your home country, you don’t make it abroad.]
  • There’s a stream in there of would-be plain-talking contrarians with variations on the “stop listening to all the crap” theme. Some are amusing, some annoying.
  • Lots of self-serving “go to my website” stuff
  • Move to the East Coast. Of India. I hear Bangalore is booming. [Ha!]
  • Vote Democrat and pray.

And so it goes.


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