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Get Your Own Customers

By: Steve Johnson

2/28/2008 - 45 Comments

As the economy moves closer and closer to a recession that may be as bad as the 70’s, layoffs will eventually follow.  How do you protect yourself against a layoff?

The layoffs may not have started yet, but the writing is on the wall.  Companies have already stopped hiring, have started process improvement efforts and are looking at ways to cut costs by delaying equipment and software upgrades. 

Getting laid off in a good economy is not as big of a deal as when the economy is in a recession.  Sometimes it even pays to get off the ship before it sinks.  If you have a good chance of getting laid off in the next year, you may want to consider finding another job while you still have a job.  That way, you can move to the next job with minimum income loss. 

Customers Are the Key

The best way to avoid a layoff is to have your own customers. The one thing that I dislike the most about working for someone else is that when you leave – they keep the customers.   The customers are the gems of any company, providing the revenue to pay the expenses and the employees.  When push comes to shove, employees are let go, but the owners keep the customers that the employees have worked hard to get.  Business owners don’t get let go, although they can go bankrupt if they get too far in debt.

I’m not suggesting you quit your day job and start a business – at least not before you have done your homework.   Starting a business takes a lot of work, patients, money and an uncommon amount of ambition.  Most people only succeed after failing several times. 

Protection from Financial Hardship

What I am suggesting is that you consider setting up the foundation of a small side business.  You could start your business as a hobby and slowly start adding customers.  If you get laid off, you would have the foundation all setup and a small customer base already in place.  This gives you the option of either returning to find another job or focusing on your small business for income.  A small business could be your insurance policy – reducing your risk of a financial hardship.

Of course, the best insurance policy against a financial hardship is a savings account, but in America – who are we kidding. The average saving rate in America is negative 0.5 percent.

Drastic changes in the economy will push many businesses into bankruptcy and new products and services will be needed that were not needed a short time ago.  For example, the need for foreclosure information and counselors has skyrockets in just the last 6-months.  Many people will be looking for new ways to live with the changes all around them.  If you’re looking for business ideas, I would look at the needs of a recession economy.  Your best protection from a layoff, is to get your own customers.  

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