Learn how to deal a winning hand as you try to win against today's economic realities.
Never in our history as a nation has motivation been as important for business success as it is today. Frankly, after over 30 years in business, I believe that your motivation to succeed is literally the deciding factor in overcoming one of the most devastating business climates that has ever existed in our country.
But if you expect to read about how the reality of our business climate affects entrepreneurs and small/mid-size businesses in the mainstream media, guess again. It has not happened because the media's interests lie with their clients, owners, and advertising base of big business companies and institutions.
So what is the stacked economic deck to which the title of this article refers? Frankly, it refers to the ability for businesses to get money needed to survive, let alone implement plans to become successful.
To start with, realize that government stimulus plans were never designed to help "small businesses". In fact, the opposite is true. Stimulus plans were really meant to save our economic infrastructures and were never designed to improve our economy.
The infrastructure to be saved by stimulus packages were the financial institutions, the big corporations, and municipalities.
Remember, financial institutions were given enormous sums of money without any obligations to put it into the economy. So for the most part, they kept it.
Additionally, as banks were put on notice regarding reserve requirements and new regulations, excess reserves they held onto increased to a never before seen trillion dollar level.
That meant that the spigot of funding to smaller businesses dried up while new currency the Fed created and shoveled into banks never saw the light of day in the economy.
At the same time, most home equity and credit card funding that small businesses used to finance themselves previously also dried up.
Businesses "dried" at a rate not seen since the Great Depression. Meanwhile, both big corporations and the institutions that were deemed "too big to fail", got and continue to get money (thanks to Fed actions) at historically ridiculously low interest rates.
Today, thanks to taxpayer bailouts, these institutions are bigger than they were even before the start of the crisis (they helped create), while their management and that of major corporations continue to get salaries and bonuses in the multimillion-dollar range.
If you think that is unfair, I suggest that you get on YouTube and listen to the Leonard Cohen song "Everybody Knows". Regrettably, in the real world, nobody ever said that life is or should be fair.
How bad is the deck stacked against small business? The economy here in the U.S. has been so bad, that this past summer, the Washington Post reported that for the first time in 40 years, the net sum of Mexican migration to the U.S. was zero!
Worse is what has occurred with our middle class in comparison to that of Mexico. In 1960, 80 percent of Mexico's population was living in poverty. Today, a narrow margin of its population is said to be middle class.
Meanwhile, here in the U.S., things got markedly worse. According to surveys listed in a New York Post article on Oct. 21, 2012, today's U.S. middle class families earn less than they did a decade ago! Additionally, the average middle-class household's net worth has dropped 35 percent since 2007.
More frightening is that only 42 percent of private sector workers aged 25 to 64 have any pension coverage in their current job (source: Center for Retirement Research) and that 30 percent of workers in a 2012 study said that they had less than $1,000 in savings and investments (source: Employee Benefit Research Institute).
Lastly, at age 65 and above, Social Security benefits provide more income than any other source for over 60 percent of the households, and one-third of households end up entirely dependent on Social Security!
What happened to the American dream, and how can you win economically with such a "stacked" deck against you?
Whatever action you take to make your business better, you must consider three developments.
The first is that municipalities are not going to be a help to most small businesses. They themselves are in deep financial difficulties, so they often can't meet their current obligations let alone their upcoming unfunded liabilities like pensions and health benefits promised to their workers. So expect major tax increases and service cuts across the board.
The second major problem is that federal funding and programs that helped small businesses will probably be among the first casualties in attempts to reduce U.S. deficits. Unlike big business, small business owners do not have lobbyists to inject billions of dollars in the federal and state arenas to make their voices heard.
Lastly, some of our leading financial experts believe that no matter who was elected, another recession is on the horizon within the next 12 to 18 months. It is also entirely possible that this will be accompanied by an inflationary era (stagflation).
Putting it bluntly, I believe that we are in the eye of an economic hurricane with the worst yet to come.
If none of this gives you a sense of urgency and the motivation to do what you have to, something is very wrong. Zig Ziglar once said that money might not be the most important thing in the world, but it rates right up there with oxygen.
What you can do about it
1. To start with, you must fully comprehend just how badly the situation is geared against your business success. Understand that not trying to move forward with your business success is probably the equivalent to being suicidal. Our current vice president was correct in his assessment that the last four years have buried the middle class, and it is in the process of getting worse. It is up to you not to become part of the herd that is heading to the slaughterhouse.
2. You must realize that you cannot count on anything other than your own efforts to make you successful. Yes, you can build teams of business helpers, but as President Truman once said, "the buck stops here."
3. Create YOUR business goals that you are passionate about and keep them in mind constantly. Passionately visualize daily what your success will lead to and why you are "fighting" to attain it. When life hits you daily, it is often hard to keep in mind that Rocky, you have to get up off the mat and keep fighting. That is why daily passionate affirmations are so important.
4. Never forget that the real key step with motivation is to take massive action towards your goals. The longest journey starts with a single step. as motivator Scott Smith says, "take one step and then repeat it". Each day, plan five actions that can make a difference in your moving forward to your goals. Do them!
5. As you accomplish your daily actions, check them off on your list to "add fuel" to your motivation. Likewise, check off your mini-goals to help you build psychological pride and momentum in what you are doing.
6. Be prepared to adapt or even to change direction to achieve success. It is said that there are many roads to get to Rome. If a road is blocked, find another. Robert Schuler was famous for saying that if your road is blocked, you can still go over, under, around, or through the obstacle. But keep moving with motivation and passion to your ultimate goal -- business and financial success. Fred Smith's original idea for FedEx was not what it turned out to be. It still became a multibillion-dollar business success.
If things get tough (and they will), keep in mind why you have no choice other than to "get off the mat" and keep fighting. You never know where your success can come from.
A year ago, Derek Smith was studying English while he worked at a hotel in Maryland. He had started an athletic apparel company on the internet and was looking for unique ways to market it. So he decided to create "zombie races". These are three-mile obstacle courses where participants try to get away from other participants dressed as zombies.
The weekend before this was written, one of their races took place in California where 19,000 participants tried to get away from 500 zombies. It cost $80 per person to participate. Their cost factor is about $10,000 per race. They expect to do nine races this year and 22 races next year. You do the math. Smith has quit his job at the hotel and put his apparel company on the back burner.
The bottom line is how bad do you want it? You can either succumb to the economy or fight against the stacked economic deck that all small American businesses are facing.
Your motivation and the actions it leads you to take will probably be the deciding factor. GO DO IT!!