Tough times create new opportunities

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By Rob Witwer

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

— Joseph P. Kennedy

That statement has been uttered by many who are trying to get someone within earshot to try harder during tough times. It probably hasn’t worked all that well, but it is a memorable phrase. The truth is that during tough times businesses often do need to get going … to new tactics.

If you have noticed that your business plan isn’t working, some changes need to be made. While that doesn’t sound profound, it might be. Name one big old company that’s doing well today. If you’re having trouble thinking of any, it’s because there aren’t very many. The reason is that they have not been able to change what they do and how they do it as the times have dictated change.

I recently attended a presentation by Sharon Gibson, who identifies herself as the flight instructor for a new organization in the Evergreen/west Denver area called Make-it-Fly. Sharon equated owning and running a company to running in a marathon, both of which she has done. She outlines four necessities to complete either:

• Planning — Detailed and thoughtful planning.

• Sacrifice — Making tradeoffs to reach your goal.

• Attitude — You must most definitely have “The Little Engine That Could” in you.

• A support team — You certainly can’t succeed in either alone.

It was the last point that caught my attention. Her small-business networking company, Make-it-Fly, provides a worthy support team in terms of expertise, accountability and a real reason to believe you will succeed. Imagine having your own advisory board committed to your success.

Sure, times are tough and perhaps getting going entails bringing in some new ideas and new tactics to change your top and bottom lines.

What Joseph Kennedy was trying to say is that when the going gets tough, those who would call themselves tough enough to succeed would get some new initiatives going. What else can you do? You could listen to the prophets of doom tell us that this is the worst time since whenever.

Every time there has been a large economic downturn, businesses are challenged. Some adapt and move on, while some falter, but always the downturn shows us new opportunities. During every downturn, new successes are born. You can Make-it-Fly, I’m sure.

Rob Witwer, who grew up in Evergreen and currently lives in Genesee, is a former member of the state House of Representatives.