If you can't figure out where the economy is heading, you're not alone. "News stories bounce from bad to worse to hope to despair, leaving rare moments of optimism and much uncertainty," says Michael Dotson in an article at MarketingProfs.

"The primary result of that combined gloom-and-doom assault [is that it] has rendered many businesses paralyzed from a sense of fear about the present and the future. Such paralysis has slowed the progress of even the most (formerly) dynamic of companies to a crawl."

Still, Dotson believes, you can find order in the chaos by considering ideas like these:

When you understand the terrain, you can set realistic goals. Dotson compares the current economic landscape to a trench-strewn World War I battlefield, where combatants measured forward movement in feet—and even inches. "[I]t may seem that everything is happening in slow motion," he notes. "Your business plan must take into consideration a reduced pace of progress. Sustainable success can best be achieved through a series of small victories."

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