Today’s guest author is Curt Clinkinbeard, the Director of Training at the FAMEE Foundation. Curt is a former director at the Kansas University Small Business Development Center, an author, consultant, speaker and enthusiast for entrepreneurship. 

Curt was the former VP of Sales and Marketing for a rapidly growing medical firm. During his 13 year tenure, the business went from $500K in annual revenues to over $5 million per year. That’s consistently growing at about 20% per year over an extended period.

We are pleased and very thankful for Curt’s participation today in wrapping up our Global Entrepreneurship Week on getting Back to the Fundamentals.

If you like to read about entrepreneurship, you’ve noticed that every other article these days is written about “how to deal with a rotten economy.” OK, so some of the tips out there are great strategies that help ntrepreneurs take a different approach when times get tough.

But here is an additional / alternate way to look at it….

1. Get back to the basics. A tough economy magnifies the importance of doing the BASICS really well. When dollars are tight, competition increases. When competition increases, the small differences between companies and their marketing strategies become more noticeable. My best advice is to do the things we know we must always do, but simply do them better. In my opinion, going back to basics, but executing at a higher level, is a huge way to help keep focused on improvement.

By the way, a significant benefit to this is if you use a down economy to sharpen your overall approach to marketing during the doldrums, you will deploy a proven approach, which will serve you well when times get better and the economy booms.

2. Take some advice from Alcoholics Anonymous. Focus on the things you can control, and to some extent, tune out the things you can’t control. I find that when business owners get too wrapped up about “the big picture,” they lose focus on what they can control: their approach to running their company. Sometimes rolling up your sleeves, turning off the media’s drama (they make more money when there are sensational things to talk about), and focusing on their own little business, is the best medicine.

3. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid. Recessions are times when our pessimistic sides start to win. But our best entrepreneurs are optimists. No, that doesn’t mean they are Pollyannas or have their heads buried in the sand. But it does mean that when the vast percentage of the populace is panicking, the cool-headed entrepreneur recognizes that economies go up and economies go down – and has faith that the economy will get better.

The more they remain upbeat, the more they counteract all of the negativism. There have always been good times and bad times. And every time it goes bad, there are those who join the panic train, and those who emerge from the challenges better off than they were going into them. The entrepreneur’s attitude is key. Not only on a micro level, but on a macro one as well!

4. Learn about marketing. And what would an email from me be without a shameless plug?!!!? If times are tight and companies are scrimping back on their expenses, doesn’t it make sense to access a full marketing development training / consulting program? Not only does it talk about how to sharpen up the business so it can grow, but it is offered in a membership that does not have a direct cost. If you have not done so, visit our website at  to learn more.

Curt Clinkinbeard
Director of Training, The FAMEE Foundation Author, /CUSTOMER PILLARS/
Former SBDC center director