A strong foundation Featured

5:11am EDT October 31, 2001
In war, when a country gives up and pulls out its soldiers, it is referred to as strategic withdrawal, not defeat.

I always thought this was an interesting way of putting it. This allows the country to withdraw its forces and reorganize while saving its dignity.

The same strategy can be applied to business. Some are withdrawing so they can reorganize to better face these tumultuous times. Since the inception of this magazine, I have never seen this kind of a business climate. Consumer confidence is lacking, fear is in the air and businesses are not sure what to do.

For some companies, this is a time for survival mode, while others try to preserve what they have and move cautiously forward. The tragic events of Sept. 11 pushed an already struggling economy over the edge.

So what are we going to do about it? We are going to fight. We can never give up, regardless of our circumstances. This is a time when we must all work together.

In his inaugural address, John F. Kennedy said, ''Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.'' The same goes for us. What can we do as business owners to help our country and our economy?

One of the first things all Americans did after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was to connect with someone. We either made a phone call to a friend or family member or shared with someone at work.

This is because we are wired for relationships. It's these relationships that will see us through these difficult times, and it is relationships that will keep the economy going. As business people, we need to understand that we need each other. No person can be an island.

This is a time when we need to reach out to a fellow worker, family member or friend and share what we are going through. It is a time to reach out to other businesses and our associates to establish new relationships and solidify old ones.

Here are four reasons we should reach out to others regardless of our circumstances.

1. Wisdom comes from an abundance of counselors. The more people you talk to, the better idea you'll have of what needs to be done.

2. What goes around, comes around. Lending a helping hand in both your business and personal life now means others will help you when the need arises.

3. The best things in life are not things, they are relationships. Relationships are what define us as people and what move our businesses forward.

4. God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. Don't let pride dictate bad decisions. Performing your own strategic withdrawal in order to reorganize for another fight may be necessary to survive difficult economic times.

The world is a different place than it was a few months ago. The best way to get through these tough times -- both personally and professionally -- is to work together. People are the foundation upon which we should rebuild, because nothing can wreck a solid relationship.

So let's lend a helping hand and do our part to rebuild our fragile economy. Fred Koury (fkoury@sbnnet.com) is president and CEO of SBN Magazine.