While some say the economy is improving, the reality for service providers and others is that they still face reduced work and profits, furloughs, layoffs and other hardships. Going to work isn't as enjoyable as it once was. Nevertheless, there are measures you can take to weather economic storms. It begins with not fearing down business conditions. Challenge yourself to find the positive aspects and opportunities that lie within change. Change your attitude and view change as a challenge and an opportunity. This, in turn, will help change results. Invest in training. With the battle for customer dollars getting even fiercer, you need every tool in your business toolbox to stay ahead of the competition. One way to achieve this is by investing in training - for everyone. Yet frequently, training is one of the first things to get hacked when a company's budget gets squeezed. Wrong move. Trained and energized employees are just what any operation needs to stimulate growth and problem solve in the lean times. What's more, training places value in you as an employer because employees tend to look at education as a sign that their company cares about them. Increase marketing. The marketing budget is another area that quickly gets lacerated when business slows. Another wrong move. Marketing expenditures ought to be increased. Cutting back on marketing your operation makes it much more difficult to reach customers. Think about it. As business falls off, don't you have to work harder to reach customers in order to generate more business? Join a trade or industry organization. Membership can provide you with a number of benefits. Many organizations offer members discounts on vital products and services. They also make available valuable training and education opportunities, and that can help you stay competitive. Pay attention. Keep up on news, developments and trends in your business areas and industries. And be sure to talk to your customers and prospect customers about their maintenance and service issues. Ask them insightful questions to elicit good intelligence. Doing so will arm you with good information so you can be proactive in capitalizing on business opportunities. Fearing change is natural. It's a very strong emotion that creates a lot of energy in a person. This energy, though, tends to be negative. I'm strongly suggesting that you turn fear into positive energy by changing your attitude, viewing change as a challenge and opportunity and managing your business to not just survive, but thrive.