Plan B - Steps For Navigating Tough Financial Times

As the economic crisis continues to unravel layer-by-layer and financial institutions continue to maintain an ever-tightening stronghold on the masses, it is important for consumers to do two things right away:

  1. Get a grip and do not fear. The good news is that too many people are in the same predicament so, no room for any one person to feel alone amidst lack or even being treated unfairly.
  2. Create a Plan B and walk it out. Nothing worse than being told what to do or knowing what to do, yet, failing to act.

Yes, times are tough. Be it job loss, credit woes or foreclosure, everyone (and I do mean everyone) must make tough decisions about how they live, work, play and do business. Some are in dire straits more than others but in the same straits nevertheless.

More important than working to salvage financial portfolios or creating a resume that may or may not be seen let alone yield a job offer, is learning how to navigate tough financial times.

What can you do to ensure success?

Avoid procrastination. Better to be a work-in-progress than a stagnating pond. When you stand still or do nothing, there's a tendency for fear to increase. Action coupled with valuable practical insight gives faith wings.

Be proactive. Do not wait until you receive a pink slip, you are on your last dime or your credit privileges change before you make changes. Look for alternatives; ask for help, work to get out of debt, do your research-now!

Build confidence. Learn a new skill and/or sharpen your strengths. Seek professional help to get clarity on all things business and all things financial. Inexpensive, seminars, workshops and continuing education options abound via local and virtual colleges and universities. At the very least, there is information to be garnered via the Web and government agencies such as the U.S. Small Business Association and the Federal Trade Commission. Also, most professionals do offer free consultations.

Negotiate alternatives. Where there is no job, create one. Assess a company or individual's needs and propose how you can help at a low cost to them, but maximum profit to you.

Complete the cycle. Follow-up yes, but also follow-through. (See, the two things to do right away).

Expand your circle. You can only grow as far as your circle is wide. The broader your scope, the greater your level of insight and therefore, influence. Make it a point to network with people in at least three related and unrelated industries. MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter-need I say more?

Practice your performance. Take time to practice conducting interviews, delivering an elevator pitch or making an introduction. The more you do it, the more your confidence will increase.

Prioritize. Economic conditions do not determine the difference between want and need-you do. So, make a list of things you need to maintain your livelihood and research resources that ensure those needs are met. Meanwhile, employ discipline and patience to obtain the things you want.

Tag Team. Team up with people who will motivate you as well as assist. No man is an island. Two is better than one. A three-fold cord cannot be [easily] broken. There is strength in numbers. Pinpoint a faith-based, community, social, professional or other organization where you can give and receive help.

Stick it out. Come what may, do not give up, cave in or quit.

Today, it is painfully obvious that to be in "bad" debt is to be in bondage. It is also clear that we should all strive to live within our means. Regardless of where this financial crisis finds you, do not let not having enough or being backed into the credit crunch corner lead you to drastic measures. As with any trial, things have a way of working themselves out especially if you allow wisdom, time, faith and patience to be your guide.

To the millions of people around the world affected by the financial crisis, let it be said that quitting is not an option. Be motivated by the hope that there are brighter days head.

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