I’m always “taking the temperature” of our clients and media partners. “How’s business” I ask, and I ask on a regular basis. The people I ask are very honest and forthcoming. Lately, about 60 percent of the people who answer are optimistic. That’s just not acceptable.  Most people blame the sad state of affairs in Washington. Just like me, they’re fed up with the way the economy is being handled. But let’s leave the political discussion for another time.

In light of this, how do you remain optimistic about the future? By focusing on your business. By positioning your business for success. By advertising your strengths, by differentiating yourself from the competition. What does your business do better than any of your competitors? Control what you can control, give your customers the best possible service and the best possible price. If you do that better that the competition, your business will not only survive, it will thrive.

Tough times are the best time to grab marketshare. Keep an eye on your competitors. When they start cutting back on staff, on service and on advertising, that’s your cue to step up your customer service, and most importantly, increase your advertising investment. Your business will grow at the expense of your competition. That’s how it works. Compete in your local market using every marketing tool that is at your disposal. That’s how to win even when times are tough.