Your Business is Unique. Your Problems Are Not.

A little while ago, I put up on our website a list of the nine biggest mistakes we see entrepreneurs make. You'll find it here.

I re-read it again this weekend to see if the list needs updating. Instead, I was struck by how consistently we come across these issues, even in the most diverse businesses.

In the past month, we have started to see another.

Companies that believe the economy has turned around and that their problems are subsiding. That is now number ten.

We see ourselves as business optimists. We look for what can be done. Not what can't.

But we're also pragmatists. Who don't often accept the first answer as the whole story. And the story on this recession is a long way from being over.

House sales are up but prices are way down. The single largest deflationary influence in the American consumer's portfolio. Earning are up, but based on one-time savings in the form of lay-offs. Of consumers who can't contribute to the recovery until they get a job. And unemployment is forecast to rise through the first quarter. At least. Which doesn't address catastrophic vacancy rates in commercial real estate which don't have thirty year mortgages to act as safety nets. Many in fact come due in the next year, with the majority of borrowers upside-down on an asset-value to debt ratio.

If your business has still to define its essential value to its customers, and you're still acting reactively to surrounding events, you are guaranteeing only that you will continue to be a victim of other people's mistakes.

Not all companies have suffered in this economy. Hyundai and Apple, for instance, are having record breaking years. At a time when a new car and a new computer would seem low on anyone's list of priorities, understanding why they are thriving is valuable information.

The answer is simple. Value.

What's yours?

How do you release it?

And what are you going to do with it?