Some companies can make it despite the economy

“The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” Those words from Chicken Little seem to have taken on a life of their own in today’s economic climate. It seems no matter where you turn, there is one crisis after another.

If we were to run our businesses based solely upon the news we see on the plethora of channels, websites and publications out there, it would be called “How to Use Fear to Manage Your Business.”

Some people seem to think that fear is a great motivator, priority setter, or even clarifier. That sentiment isn’t in the same zip code as the truth.

Despite economic upturns or downturns, businesses can start, grow and thrive. Consider the following:

A small company was started on April 1, 1976. It was later incorporated on Jan. 3, 1977 just as President Jimmy Cater was about to take office. Three months later, the company released its first “major” product.

Throughout the turmoil of the economic recession of the late 1970s, this company continued to develop products and introduce them to the marketplace.

In the 80s, this company reinvented its product and made a big marketing splash with a $1.5 million television commercial that aired during the Super Bowl.

With the reinvention came competition from much larger companies. Still, this company continued to introduce new products.

This is not a fantasy, however, there was plenty of infighting, high level discussions and times where a profit could not be attained. Regardless, the company continued on, correcting mistakes and moving forward.

The 90s were times of ups and downs for the company — but they survived and innovated.

Today, Apple Inc. has established a unique reputation in the consumer electronics industry. This includes a customer base that is devoted to the company and its brand, particularly in the United States. Fortune magazine named Apple the most admired company in the United States in 2008, and in the world in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and beyond.

Chances are you own at least one Apple product (or your kids do.) Over a period of nearly 40 years, this company has weather many storms and had become the premier force in these types of products.

Not bad for a company whose infancy was during a recession.

In our “microwave society,” it is easy to lose focus on the long term. It is easy to forget the successes of the past and only panic about the immediate outlook.

Fear-based management is a formula for failure.