It’s tough out there—so says the latest Regus Business Confidence Index, which shows global confidence has fallen by two points since April 2012. Countless companies, and even some countries, are struggling and may go bust. Unsurprisingly, this affects business confidence globally, causing investors to hold on to their cash and markets to flounder. But even in these trying times, many businesses are doing just fine. So how can you ensure that your business is one of them? We can all learn some lessons from a particular breed of businesspeople: entrepreneurs. As any thriving entrepreneur will tell you, there is no single, foolproof formula that ensures business success. Many simply don’t get distracted by the macroeconomic climate and just continue doing what they do best. But speak to enough entrepreneurs and common patterns emerge. In Growth in a Difficult Decade, a book commissioned by Regus, more than 60 entrepreneurs share their ideas on how to achieve growth during the economic downturn. Here are the findings: 1. Perseverance, positivism, and people In the face of adversity – plough on, stay upbeat, and be decisive. “People who love what they’re doing don’t give up. It’s never even a consideration. It’s a pretty simple formula,” said Donald Trump (pictured), head of the Trump Organization. Others highlight the importance of hiring people who are better at something than they are. Coffee shop chain Starbucks chairman and CEO, Howard Schultz, said the following: “There is no more precious commodity than the relationship of trust and confidence a company has with its employees.” 2. Harness the power of marketing Today’s multichannel world offers vast opportunities. Make the most of them. Mary Perkins, cofounder of the opticians chain Specsavers: “Customers are more demanding and more knowledgeable using the Internet to find out things for themselves, and they want better service. So they need to be told why they should spend money with you.” 3. Learn from your mentors Learn lessons from people whose opinion you trust. “I’ve found that some of my best mentors will paint a picture for me, but they won’t suggest any sort of direction. They’ll say, ‘Here are the five things that you can do, and here are similar experiences that I’ve had,” said Jason Ross of menswear retailer JackThreads. 4. Think globally and go for growth Having a global vision is vital in a world where, thanks to technology, there are no longer any geographical barriers. Marc Benioff, founder, chairman, and CEO of Salesforce.com, commented “The biggest lesson that I draw from the past decade is the importance of innovating on every level.” And with innovation comes the potential for growth. Footwear giant Geox’s founder, Mario Moretti Polegato, hit it on the head when he said this: “It’s not true that everything has already been invented. There is plenty of scope out there for great innovation.” So, do you feel as upbeat about the future? What’s the growth outlook for your company?
(Photo: Gage Skidmore)