A small business owner’s guide to navigating uncertain times

Presidential election years can often roil financial markets; don't let that throw you off your plan for your small business.

Presidential election years can often roil financial markets; don’t let that throw you off your plan for your small business.

Nothing is ever certain. The only constant is change.

Sure, you’ve heard all this before. But as a small business owner, wouldn’t it be great to walk in the door in the morning with a reasonable certainty that conditions are stable, customers happy and the bottom not about to fall out?

Maybe the current tremble in the air can be attributed to the election year, with its raft of both plausible and implausible candidates. Maybe the uncomfortable daily swings of the stock market, the sagging price of oil or something entirely different permeates the atmosphere in your neck of the woods.

Whatever the source, many people are feeling the dreaded three: Uncertainty. Hesitation. Worry.

How will you respond? A few suggestions from which to pick and choose, and perhaps gather inspiration.

-Look for trends and generate new ideas; there is opportunity in any market.

-Hesitant times are not the same as really BAD times. Help decision-makers choose to work with your business. Provide the information, guidance and level of comfort they need to move forward with confidence.

-In business, there are always winners and losers. Following the crowd does not typically make you a winner. Be a smart contrarian.

-Keep marketing. Keep selling. Those who do, do better.

-Network. Expand your horizons. No network of contacts is too large.

-Give of yourself, to the community, to young people starting their careers, or to a cause that you care about. It’s energizing, and studies show that giving also pays dividends in business success.

-Think long-term. Running a business is a long-distance swim, not a splash in the pool. The direction in which you are headed, and the plan you have thoughtfully devised, is very likely taking you where you want to go.

-In 2016, remember that, while people worry about stocks and the economy during an election year, any significant impact is based on other market conditions.

It is true that the only constant is change, so we may as well become good at surfing it!


Michelle van Schouwen is president of van Schouwen Associates, LLC (vSA), a B2B marketing company based in Longmeadow, MA. The company is known for vSALaunch, its proprietary, modular and scalable system for B2B marketing launches, vSAConsult, its executive-level strategic planning capability, and for its expertise in integrated marketing for B2B. vSA has thrived through over three decades, so van Schouwen understands navigating uncertainty.

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