Stick With Your Core Values in Good Times and Bad - Black Enterprise

Stick With Your Core Values in Good Times and Bad

Although some economists claim the recession is over, it certainly doesn’t feel like it for most entrepreneurs. Despite signs of a rebound, a number of businesses must fight to keep the lights on.

Recent statistics promise it will be a bumpy ride to recovery. Corporate clients and consumers, for the most part, continue to hoard cash. Credit is expected to remain tighter than a miser’s wallet. In fact, the Federal Reserve Board’s recent survey of lending practices of U.S. commercial banks found that 35% of these institutions have tightened standards on small business loans. The SBA reported that through Aug. 14, only 36,055 loans guaranteed through its 7(a) program were approved this fiscal year–a 43% decline from the same period a year earlier. As a result, the body count has mounted: according to the American Bankruptcy Institute, more than 30,000 companies filed for bankruptcy protection during the first half of 2009, a 64% rise from the same period a year ago.

I didn’t paint what may appear to be a bleak picture so you would call it quits. I just don’t believe in sugarcoating tough situations. Since last year, I have been bombarded by e-mails, phone calls, and drive-by chats from young entrepreneurs who seek the magic formula for survival. First, I tell them that no such blueprint exists. Then I let them know they’re not alone. Believe me, I know every twist and turn on the road you’re traveling. Black Enterprise has not been immune to today’s challenges. But I decided to meet them head on. And you should, too.

Yes, I believe the economic recovery will arrive soon but it will take a while before many of us reap its benefits. Now is the time to position yourself for the future. Take stock of your company and operate in a mode that will not only preserve the business but will also burnish your reputation–your reputation represents your most valuable asset.