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Ignore the Confusing Economic Signals, Set Your Course for 2014

Can you ever remember a time when signals coming out of our economy were more confusing and contradictory? The stock market is at record highs but unemployment also stays high, as do new applications for unemployment benefits. Corporate earnings are fairly healthy but there are more people on government assistance than there are working. So whatever you used to hang your hat on when doing your planning, find a new hat rack and set your own course. Remember the first question of marketing: what are people buying from you (not what are you trying to sell them?) Think about that carefully. What is the same and what has changed about what they are really buying. Is it a growing market or a declining one? Is competition gaining on you or have you found a new way to differentiate your products and services from your competition?  What’s the most important thing you and your colleagues must do right now to set the company on a successful course in the next year? You already know one of those things they don’t teach in business school that strikes all business owners-just when you think you have things figured out, you are confronted with the need to adapt to new circumstances. So, here’s a suggestion for the most important thing you and your colleagues can do right now: sit down and talk about what you think is going on with and around your company. Listen to what your customer contact people are telling you. Formulate a plan that you review often as the year goes on and set your course and prosper.