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Weathering The (Economic) Storm

by Paul Williams  |  
January 9, 2009

"I am not afraid of storms for I am learning to sail my own ship."

- 19th Century American Novelist, Louisa May Alcott
I found that quote last week, and it reinforced thinking I've had about operating a business during a poor economy.

Many of the conditions created by the recession parallel the way your business is affected when a competitor takes away your business. It feels the same: lower traffic, lower sales, the need to make tough decisions about how to manage the company.
This recession is a training ground for us to hone our businesses. The difference (or benefit?) with the recession is that EVERYBODY is in rough waters, not just you.
While it may not be an especially "fun" experience, we have the opportunity to find ways now:
  • to be more relevant to customers,
  • to attract attention in meaningful ways, and
  • to find or create what differentiates you from your competition.
    Your reactions, behavior, and survival now serve as lessons "to sail your own ship" when faced with future storms.

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Hi there!

I'm Paul Williams... guest writer on Daily Fix and founder of Idea Sandbox.

I'm a professional problem solver. Through brainstorm facilitation I help people create remarkable ideas to grow their business. As one client put it, “Idea Sandbox turns brains into idea machines.”

Prior to launching Idea Sandbox in 2005, I spent 15 years building marketing, branding, and customer-experience strategy for The Disney Company, the Aramark Corporation, and Starbucks Coffee Company.

I founded Idea Sandbox driven by my passion to help others create remarkable ideas. I blend the skills and lessons I have learned to build a sandbox---an idea sandbox.

You can reach me on Twitter via @IdeaSandbox.

Through Idea Sandbox, I have helped solve challenges, grow brands, think-up remarkable ideas, and create innovation for companies including: Starbucks Coffee Company, Starbucks Coffee International, Panera Bread Company, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Woodhouse Day Spas, The Microsoft Corporation, and Wells Fargo Mortgage.

I am a writer, speaker, columnist, and brainstormer living just outside Washington DC, in Alexandria, Virginia.

If you like what you've read here, you can find more of my thoughts at my Idea Sandbox blog.

I always welcome comments and reactions to what I've written. I'm on Twitter: @IdeaSandbox

Nice to meet you,


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  • by Blog Guide Fri Jan 9, 2009 via blog

    I definitely think that you have to have great contest and get noticed by other ways on the Internet and off-line. Basically need something to go viral.

  • by Elaine Fogel Fri Jan 9, 2009 via blog

    Hi, Paul. Good analogy. Those who have allowed the wind to carry them for a few years, will now need to blow on the sails to keep themselves going. How's that for a metaphor? :)

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