When the economy takes a downturn, it’s easy to start blaming everything as the reason your small business is not bringing in business.

But even in the worst of times, small businesses are the one thing that builds the economy back up.

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We’ve all been watching the giants of the industry head in and out of bankruptcy and close their doors forever. Why? They are simply too big to make quick changes. That’s where small businesses are different. They have the ability to make quick changes, do something entirely new and different, and start bringing in profits.

First, put fear aside

If you watch the news, read the papers, or get caught up in the whole emotional pull of the media, chances are you have a fear locked deep inside of you. “If it bleeds it leads” is medias mission statement.

But if you turn all of that away, it’s just as easy to get caught up in all that’s good. Sure, you may be doing a “staycation” instead of a vacation this year, but as long as you are having fun doing it, does it really matter?

Turn off the media. And turn on education instead. Now is the time to learn something new, invest in yourself, and start up that small business you’ve always dreamed of. And if you already have it started, all the better. Now’s the time to make it grow!

Invest in the future

If you’ve ever studied business at all, you know marketing is always a part of the mix. In good times, it should be a steady stream. In bad times, its time to increase what you do, and reach out in entirely different ways.

How can I spend more on marketing when less is coming in? you may ask? Maybe its time to invest in “free” marketing as well as your normal advertising methods. Instead of doing a portrait on Monday morning, you invest two hours in building up your blog. Or you spend 10 minutes a day on Twitter finding a whole new group of prospects.

Today’s marketing is great for small businesses because a lot of it allows you to invest your time instead of your money.

Keep in mind you do have to have a plan of action, and check your results along the way. Spending 5 hours a day on Twitter with no results is futile at best.

Do something new

Once you are doing new things, offer new things as well. Don’t do what you’ve always done, or you can expect the same results. Instead, look at things differently.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Neil Creek who is doing MeetHeads – business head shots that he takes at local TweetUps. That’s innovation. That’s taking something you’ve always done – business portraits – and adding a new twist.

That’s just one example, but I know many of you are doing the same. If you’re putting a new twist on an old way of doing things, I’d love to hear about it. Comment below, and lets see what you’re doing.

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