Kudos to you for always trying to get a good conversation/sharing of ideas & experiences here! Unfortunately, as you know, most just pop in and out looking for an easy answer.
Yes, have read the same article. In our environment we deal mainly with the individual, so small clients are the norm. What has been interesting to me is that we do business in three broad categories: construction, industry, municipalities, and historically the muni's have more of a financial struggle, but that has all changed over the past 8-10 months. They are now the ones that we can somewhat depend upon to keep us going. A unique shift.
What I have really noticed recently is a shift in attitudes, across the board. I live in a friendly area - newcomers always remark on this, and traveling outside this area it becomes fairly evident as well. Over the past month or so, the friendliness has gotten deeper, broader.
We are far from digging ourselves out of the financial mess we've made, but it seems to me as though our collective attitudes have shifted a bit...we are no longer so morose about our state of affairs. There is a hopefullness, or perhaps a tired-of-being-down-all-the-time-ness that seems to be infiltrating through everyone.
I see more flowers being planted, more smiles, more generosity, and I definitely hear more laughter. I feel as though we have banded together, and while the Me-Me-Me is still existent (as evidenced by someone on craigslist/miami who is begging for strangers to finance the wedding of their dreams to the tune of 15K...gimmee a break!!!), it doesn't seem to be so in-your-face anymore. I hope it stays this way.
Discounts and conducting business outside the norm is what we are having to do to stay viable. Where once we required X number of sales to make an event happen, we are now eking by with Y number. We've seen an increase in individuals pursuing job training as opposed to corporate-sponsored. And bless their hearts...they are hurting, yet see the value in parting with family money with the hope of securing a better future position.
I've given staff latitude to do whatever needs to be done. Our only goal right now is to break even to remain viable while we ride this tide. It's scary and dismal, yet we (here) don't feel scared or dismal. We feel hopeful and we believe we are seeing the light at tunnel's end.
Of course we could be dead wrong :-).
With great respect,