Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had a chance to talk to a number of business owners in the area. I talked to mechanics, mortgage brokers and …
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Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had a chance to talk to a
number of business owners in the area.
I talked to mechanics, mortgage brokers and owners of retailer
stores. There is a tremendous difference between all of these
What struck me, though, were the similarities among these folks
in their approach to business and their general state of mind.
Although I did ask them what they were hearing from customers
and colleagues, I never asked them flatly if they were worried
about the economy. Instead, I just tried to gather what I could
from their demeanor during our visits.
I consider myself a fairly good judge of people and what’s going
on with them while we talk. During the course of a conversation,
it’s not that hard to spot people with agendas, people who are
self-promoters, people who are on top of it or people who are in
What I picked up from these folks was a relative sense of calm.
They were easy to reach, talkative and joking. Who would have
The question is: what does this say, if anything, about our
economy? Is it turning around? Did someone, somewhere, pull the
sword from the stone to bring an end to all of this? Well … no.
What it does say, however, is that smart business minds who are
running solid businesses based on fundamental business values
aren’t looking for a bridge to jump off of. They have a way to make
their corner of the economy work. Are they watching the economy?
You bet. Are they scared? Not really.
I got the sense from talking to these folks that the sucker
punch of our economic collapse has already been delivered, that
sting is fading and the regrouping is underway to better weather
the punches yet to come. Is it just them?
While writing this, I decided to take a gander at the New York
Times Business section online. I just wanted to see if it boasted
the same gory, NC-17 collection of headlines it was for while (I
stopped looking on a regular basis a while ago just for my own
sanity) or if it reflected in any way what I was picking up from my
conversations with local business owners.
Here were the six headlines I could see on the first screen:
“Small Carmakers benefit from Detroit’s Woes,” “As the Boston Globe
Struggled, Confusion Prevailed,” “Paramount bets its summer largely
on one Producer,” “Paper’s report on killing was seen only online,”
“Investors bet on payment via cell phone,” and “At meetings, it’s
mind your Blackberry or mind your manners.”
All but the Boston Globe story and the Blackberry story seemed
to focus on opportunities or new ways of doing business. These were
stories about businesses living to explore new opportunities, not
their obituaries. The Globe story doesn’t say anything gloomy about
our economy as a whole and the Blackberry story … anytime we can
make room for another discussion about cell phone etiquette
probably means Chicken Little is taking the day off.
I went through the same exercise with Business Week Forbes and a
few others. It’s not all good news, but it’s not all dreadful
either. In fact, the invigorating, idea-inspiring pieces seem to
outnumber the accounts of failure.
My point is that business minded people are finding a way to
survive. You can read about it nationally or talk to real folks
about it right here. That’s good news for all of us.
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