Value Judgments

Here’s a post from my colleague Mike Caputo:

When economic times are good, people tend to function on auto-pilot. Who needs deep introspection when salaries are rising and profits are rolling in?

But hard economic times can force people to re-engage, and ask tough questions about what they do for a living, and how they do it.

“This recession has caused me to step back and rethink my business,” says Public Insight Network member Kevin Stirtz. He runs a customer loyalty consulting business. The recession is forcing Stirtz and others to ask core questions about their business strategy and personal commitments.

I’ve asked the questions: What do I really love to do? What do I do very well? What do my customers want most? ” he says. “Where these answers intersect is where I am pointing my business. The recession has caused me to ask the questions. But the answers are based on the lifestyle design I want, NOT the current economic climate.

Others have to reconsider how they bring their creative side to their venture.

“I’ve been stunned into new activity,” says Georgia Gould-Lyle, a freelance publicist from Golden Valley. The recession has made her scrappier and more willing to try something off the wall as a way to attract potential clients.

In contrast, Minneapolis graphic designer Lori Gleason says she has had to pull back on the more creative aspects of her work.

“The nature of my work is highly customized and many clients cannot afford this right now,” Gleason says.

I am “streamlining” all of my products (logo design, printed materials and web design) to offer small packages that clients can afford. It’s quite a challenge and is not very satisfying creatively right now. I must learn to “shut down” the creative process of generating ideas to stay within time constraints that are practical. But necessity is the mother of invention and I plan to develop a leaner but smarter business over the next few months.

Getting back to basics is a major theme of these economic times. So much so that, in September, Minnesota Public Radio will host a forum with small business owners, freelancers and entrepreneurs to explore how the economic climate has challenged their fundamental values.

Would you like to participate? Start by sharing your story about the challenging economic times and your values.

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