How to stay optimistic in 2009


Here are seven strategies for staying positive in the gloomy economy.

Among the reports of falling stocks, home foreclosures, and insurmountable debts, there are still things to be thankful for. After all, the sun still shines, you're alive for another day, and your patients will never stop needing you. With that in mind, here are some ideas from Lacher McDonald and Co. for staying positive while thriving in 2009.

1. Foster relationships with your clients. Despite a struggling economy, most of your clients will still use your services. They're the backbone of your business, so treat them well. They'll return the favor by giving you their business. See also: Turn frowners into fans: How to gauge client satisfaction

2. Stop wasting time. Chances are you perform certain tasks each week that could be done by others. Delegate those tasks and set priorities for other important things you could be doing-like seeing more patients. See also: 6 easy steps to delegation perfection

3. Reward your superstars. Team members shouldn't expect a stream of constant praise, but they do need occasional encouragement. A pat on the back here or a “nice job” there will go a long way in boosting employee morale. See also: Frugal rewards

4. Resist the urge to give away your services. Times may be tough for some of your clients, but you probably can't afford to lose money by donating care to their animals. Help them invest in the care their pets need by offering minor discounts or third-party payment plans, but don't hurt your bottom line by being too generous. See also: Don't lose sight of what's important to clients

5. Get rid of the dead weight. Your practice can't afford to hang on to team members who underperform or cause problems in the office. The same goes for equipment and machines. Eliminate your troublemakers and watch team morale skyrocket. See also: Three strikes you're out!

6. Focus on the parts of your business you can control. Face it-you're helpless when it comes to electricity costs or timely supply shipments. But you can offer your clients better quality and better service. See also: Nothing is insignificant

7. Offer value to clients. Clients will be less hesitant to pay for a costly procedure if they understand the need for it. So explain procedures and walk them through your method of care step by step. An informed client is a happy client. See also: Client education keeps door open for compliance

So before you get too anxious about the struggling economy, remember that the best businesses will survive-and even thrive. Stay positive and work hard to offer the best service, and you'll hardly notice the recession. As long as you don't turn on the TV or read a newspaper, that is.

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