09/26/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Terminally Ill Economy

Treat the current economic climate as you would a terminal disease! If you were told you had a terminal disease what would you do? I expect most of you would spend your last dollars in hopes of finding a cure! You would probably travel to every corner of the planet seeking solutions and alternatives and you would learn everything you could about your situation.

This is exactly how individuals and businesses need to respond to the current economic situation. This economy is sick and to the degree you are involved with it you are affected. It is no longer important that it is sick, how it got sick or who is to blame for the sickness! The only thing that is important is to find your cure!

There are only three possible actions you can take (only one is correct):
1) Ignore- (that is what got us here- unwilling to confront the problem)
2) Retreat- (cut back, contract and get smaller- ultimately cease to exist)
3) Attack- (do everything possible to expand and live- survival)

Most of America including and especially the US government have been through the stage of ignoring. 2008 budget deficit is predicted to be 425,000,000,000 by Goldman Sachs. Many attached to the sick host continue to ignore the problem as though they are unconscious hoping and praying for it to pass. Then there are those that can no longer ignore and are forced to take action, thus foreclosures up 120% and bankruptcies predicted to raise 13%. Once people get through the denial phase of ignoring they will elect to retreat or attack.

Most American business people will incorrectly elect actions to retreat as a way to survive. Retreating shows up in the form of cut spending, reduce payroll, stop hiring, stop advertising and stop training; basically reduce the size of the organization in order to survive. See the NY Times Forecast for 2008.

While retreating appears to be the logical step in business, you would never do this if you knew you had a terminal illness and want to live. Businesses and individuals should never retract, especially during times of challenge! Retracting is incorrect even thought it seems the logical thing to do. Expanding may seem completely counter but it is the only correct action. I am sure this will be disputed by the readers of this article and I welcome you calling me an idiot, but prior to doing so, ask yourself, what would you do if you had a terminal disease? You would not retreat and expect to survive!

Wilma Rudolph was the 20th of 22 children. She was born prematurely and her survival was doubtful. When she was 4 years old, she contacted double pneumonia and scarlet fever, which left her with a paralyzed left leg. At age 9, she removed the metal leg brace she had been dependent on and began to walk without it. By 13 she had developed rhythmic walk, which doctors said was a miracle. That same year she decided to become a runner. She entered a race and came in last. For the next few years every race she entered, she came in last. Everyone told her to quit, but she kept on running. One day she actually won a race. And then another. From then on she won every race she entered. Eventually this little girl, who was told she would never walk again, went on to win three Olympic gold medals

If you had a terminal disease what would you ignore, retreat or attack? Treat your business the same way! Attack today' economic challenges the same way you would if your life depended on it! No solutions will come because you ignore or retreat. "Approach business solutions the way you would a terminal disease- attack with all your resources, never ignore and never retreat!"

Grant Cardone, Author and CEO

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