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The media seems to be full of bad news about the economy and the prospects for the business community. It is easy to get drawn into this negativity and to feel very depressed about the future. Conversely, if the media was presenting the news in a more positive light, we would all feel more optimistic and positive. However what is better for your business, a positive or a negative attitude?
Who would you buy from?
Think about a shopping experience. You go into two shops selling similar products. The first shop is not looking its best, the staff are talking to each other about how bad things are and the customers are not being acknowledged. The second shop is tidy and well looked after, the staff greet you in a friendly and welcoming manner and the manager tells you how well they are doing. Which shop would you buy from?
Equally, think about a business networking event. You meet a marketing consultant who is positive and upbeat, who tells you about a great marketing idea you can use in your business and which he has had success with in other companies. You then meet another marketing consultant who is very bleak and he tells you how many clients he has lost and how everyone is cutting their marketing budgets. Which consultant would you consider using in your business?
What is the impact of your attitude on your business?
Your attitude rubs off on your existing and potential customers, your staff, your suppliers, your investors and all those that you come into contact with.
If you maintain a positive attitude, this will be infectious and those around you will pick up on your positive energy. Everyone in your company will feel positive and customers will want to do business with you. This in turn will lead to you maximising the performance of your business.
If you maintain a negative attitude, the opposite is likely to happen. People will not want to be around you, your staff will feel demotivated and customers will not want to buy from you. The result will be that the performance of your business will deteriorate.
With a positive approach you will feel in control and confident and you will perform at your best, whereas a negative approach will damage confidence, harm performance, paralyse your mental skills and may also impact your health.
However taking a positive approach is not enough on its own. You also need to be realistic about the economic climate and market conditions. It is critical that you focus on making sure your business is in the best shape to weather the downturn and maximise the short and longer term performance of the business. This may be by improving productivity, enhancing customer service, changing your marketing activity, maximising your repeat business, developing a new product or service, training staff or reviewing your cost base.
Over the last few months I have met both positive and negative business owners and it is evident to me that those who are approaching the current economic climate with a positive attitude are seeing their businesses perform better than those with a negative attitude.
How to maintain a positive attitude?
Look for the positive side. It is easy to focus on the negative when there is so much negative news around. However look for the positive side and focus on this.
Be aware of your thoughts. Focus on how you think about different situations. If you see a list of businesses closing down in your sector do you think that your business is also doomed or do you see it as an opportunity to find new customers and maybe even increase market share. Challenge any negative thoughts and turn them into positives.
Present a positive attitude to others. Even if you are feeling down, make sure you present a positive attitude to everyone you deal with. This will help you feel more positive and make others feel positive too.
Focus on what has gone well. Focus on what has gone well and what you have achieved. See things that have not gone so well as learning.
Be careful who you associate with. Surround yourself with people who have a positive attitude and avoid those who are negative.
Focus on improving the performance of your business. Focus on getting your business in the best shape to weather the downturn and to maximise your short term and longer term business performance.
Keep your business goals at the forefront of your mind. What are the goals for your business? Revisit them and make sure they are still relevant. Make sure all your current actions support your goals.
Why not try a positive attitude and see what difference it makes to you and your business. You will find that it not only maximises the performance of your business, but it will also have a positive impact on other areas of your life.
Author: Liz Makin
Published: January 2009
Makin It Happen has a range of personal development online courses to purchase, created by Liz Makin, including communication, resilience, time management, stress management and coaching. Liz Makin also provides personalised business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services to business owners, directors, managers and professionals.
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