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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Business Tips to Handle Uncertain Economic Times

“Fear of failure is the flipside of fear of success; you have nothing to loose,” says SSU Business Professor Nick Gurney who has his own top ten tips for axiomatic success to keep a business going during uncertain economic times. Repetition of these axiomatic 10 points is proven to deliver results.

The ten ideas he says can help regain momentum in achieving goals, hopes and dreams.

By Nicholas Gurney

Get Your Self Back on Track

An international business writer once said ”The more things change the more they remains the same.” Is there anything really new under the sun? Not really; though, we are definitely coping with more vertiginous progress since the beginning of time. And most of us are striving to
better manage ourselves and help others to do the same.

1. Don’t allow fear to overcome your optimistic desire for a compelling future. Your brain is programmable to go towards the rewards of success rather than the penalties of failure. Thinking in pessimistic terms validates what some call the law of negative attraction; it dates to the Bible ”What you fear most will come to pass.” Focus on short term goals and projects that are achievable and measurable. Action feeds optimism.

2. Make a daily action plan, remembering to stay focused on what is doable now! Revisit this plan at day’s end checking off what you have achieved and focus on a punch list of items that warrant further action tomorrow or within the week. The past is prelude to the future. Derive strength and satisfaction from your accomplishments. Nothing motivates better than short term goal gains.

3. "If you fail to plan, you can plan to fail." Be systematic and establish a plan and follow it as rigorously as possible. If you work with others include everyone in the planning or at least the implementation of it. Keep the people around you informed.

4. Resilience is a key component to emotional health, according to K. Sulowitz, MD. Be emotionally resilient; this is also a key to building optimism. When you are optimistic it is catching and will help others around you to build resilience.

This enables everyone to move over the current challenges and build a stronger organization with stronger people. Building on it is a critical factor in how we all respond to change and tough times. Practice thinking optimistically, with small steps and raise the bar when you sense you are ready.

5. Did it start in Hollywood by exiled New Yorkers or not? “Fake it til you make it” has been a proven practice which gains it’s own momentum. Keep in mind your ethics, tolerance for ambiguity and ones’ sense of self.

Make it a fun game to keep you keeping on. Look at successful retailers, wholesalers, the competition, inspiring individuals and model what you believe sets them apart. Japan, Taiwan, China, India and others, used to copy western goods, services and are now becoming world leaders; it didn’t happen overnight. So it is for individuals, it takes focus and work. John Wooden, famed sports coach stated; “if it’s easy everyone would be star athletes.”

6. Be adaptable: Take your cues from world class athletes, astronauts, JPL… Find what works for you and then remember; practice makes perfect. As Sonoma based Dr. David Clancy, says, “the human mind and capacity for renewed imagination differentiates us from animals and provides the wherewithal to improve.”

7. Another senior staff member of a global operations and financial consulting firm, DCG, LLC, explains simply and accurately “Communication is the base for success in everyway, everywhere.” Countless tomes, books web sites, classes, self help programs deal
with this cornerstone skill for any relationship; a book, course or training seminar on presentations or negotiation is a great way to dissipate anxiety.

8. Invest in your people – and yourself. What can everyone one do a little more of to build an incredible future now? Can everyone sell? Can everyone find savings? Each day do one more little action.

9. Leverage the knowledge of everyone. Can everyone contribute 1% more of what they know to build a future of which we can all be proud?

10. Extraordinary times calls for extraordinary people: using your doable daily action plan consider working Saturdays and or Sundays

Nicholas Gurney
International Business Professor
Sonoma State University

- Course Offers Student Mentors to Aid Small Biz Owners
- Top Ten Ideas to Handle Uncertain Economic Times


It is possible to thrive in this recession says Business Professor Nick Gurney who is again offering the chance for small businesses to be mentored by his students this spring semester.

The popular course brings business students together with local companies to develop strategies to success. Four to six companies are chosen every year and a donation of $500 is asked to cover
student scholarships.

Under the guidance of SSU faculty, business students meet with small-business owners in the North Bay to develop a scope of work and confer with proprietors on a weekly basis. Students participate in intensive real-life studies of active businesses, and take dynamic roles
in shaping the future of an enterprise.

At the conclusion of the spring semester, the student consultants present a final analysis, including findings and proposals for future operations. These include performance audits, strategic and financial planning, market research, financial forecasting, personnel policies, and customer acquisition and retention programs.

Businesses that have employed this service include Feed This Pet Foods,Kim Manley Herbals, the SSU Costume Shop, Rohnert Park Gymnastics, Montessori Services and The Housing Company.

Other companies that have also employed SSU's business consultation services include Copperfield's Books, Mrs. Grossman's Paper Products and Oliver's Markets.

For more information or to apply, contact Nicholas Gurney at
(707) 824-4418 or e-mail:
Inquiries are welcomed now through January 30, 2009.

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