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Business Insight: In times of uncertainty, reconnect, focus on the now
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Donna Every, director of the business training firm Arise Consulting Inc., says businesses that survived the Great Recession and are thriving today didn't focus on losses, they looked for opportunities.

Give tips in dealing with today's unpredictable business world.

Build on what you have, not toward what you want. Instead of setting goals and then seeking out the resources to meet them, assess what you already have in the business and what you can achieve with that. Explore forming partnerships or strategic alliances with other entrepreneurs so that you can strategize to create opportunities together. Also, start with who you know. Rather than seeking out new clients or new markets during times of uncertainty, see how you can reconnect with the contacts you already have to offer them new products or services.

Explain the Las Vegas rule.

It's where you set aside an amount of money you're prepared to gamble — and possibly lose — on cards or slots. In the context of operating in unpredictable times, that means rather than using large amounts of your resources to go after big opportunities in hopes of hitting the jackpot, look for opportunities that won't require as much of your resources. I call that picking the low-hanging fruit — the opportunities that you can achieve with the minimum of effort and resources.

How can companies plan with so many economic uncertainties?

Although planning is always important, companies should carry it out based on what they can do now rather than trying to prepare elaborate forecasts based on what happened in the past. In good times, that information may have been helpful in making predictions but in uncertain times companies can no longer rely on that. In spite of all the uncertainties businesses are operating with today, it is encouraging to see that many of them are still succeeding by using strategies that capitalize on unpredictability. Also, if an unexpected (and usually negative) event occurs, rather than trying to do damage control, see how you can turn it into an opportunity.

Dawn House Donna Every, consultant

Businesses should look for alliances, be ready for opportunities, consultant advises.
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