Entrepreneurs: It's Time to Put Your Head in the Sand

Last Updated Aug 10, 2011 12:19 PM EDT

Could everybody just calm down?

Lately it feels like we're in this self-fulfilling cycle of bad news where one economic data point sets off the tweets, then the 24-hour news channels -- desperate to make the economy look like a spectator sport -- get all lathered up. The radio talk shows proclaim the end of the world and then the fading newspapers jump in with ever-more sensational headlines and pretty soon, you might think the whole world is coming to an end because unemployment only dropped 0.1% instead of the hoped for 0.2%.

But there is nothing any of us can do about the national unemployment rate, Italy's debt, the U.S. real estate market, or any of their effects on the stock market.

So what is a lowly entrepreneur -- a mere speck on the geopolitical landscape -- to do?

Put your head in the sand
I, for one, am going to unplug and walk away from the noise. I'm going to intentionally put my head in the sand and go on a media diet.

Great businesses have been born in times of turmoil. Revlon opened in 1932 -- not exactly a banner economic year. FedEx was started during the 1973 Oil Crisis. CNN was launched in the recession of 1980 and Google really began to dominate in the aftermath of the "tech wreck" of 2001. But consume the mainstream media these days and you'd think capitalism itself was broken.

So screw it: If some companies can be successful in a recession, I'm not going to use it as an excuse to become paralyzed. I'm instead just going to turn down the volume.

After all, bad economic news is hardly a death sentence. Sure unemployment is high, but that means I should be able to hire some good people and keep the ones I have from looking around.

Yes, the U.S. dollar is dropping, but that means my stuff should be discounted for people outside of the U.S. to buy.

It will be easier to get a deal on office space and everything from computers to advertising can be bought more cheaply the worse the economy gets.

And doesn't a tough market also force us all to be less sloppy? After all, it's the hardened boxer from the wrong side of the tracks who becomes the champion -- not the kid with the silver spoon who never had to fend for himself. Hard times make hard, durable companies.

Don't get sucked into the bad news vortex
For me, consuming bad news is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more I digest, the worse I feel. When I feel low, I lack confidence and when I'm timid, I hesitate and allow my mind to speculate on what could happen as opposed to focusing on what is happening.

So I'm sick of listening to the whiners and pundits talk about the end of the world. I for one will be tuning out.

How about you? Do you want to come on a media diet with me?

You can download a free chapter of John Warrillow's new book, "Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You."

  • John Warrillow

    John Warrillow is the author of Built to Sell: Turn Your Business into One You Can Sell. He has started and exited four companies. Most recently, he transformed Warrillow & Co. from a boutique consultancy into a recurring revenue model subscription business, which was acquired by The Corporate Executive Board. Watch this video to hear John's thoughts on starting and growing a business you can sell.

    John and his book "Built to Sell" have been featured in CNN, MSNBC, Time magazine and ABC News. John was recognized by BtoB Magazine's "Who's Who" list as one of America's most influential business-to-business marketers.

    John now divides his time between homes in Toronto, Canada, and Aix-en-Provence, France. He is a husband and father of two rambunctious boys.