March 15, 2012
By Jacki Hart CLP
Prosperity Partners Program Manager

Jacki HartMy phone has been ringing off the hook since Congress.

An unprecedented number of Prosperity Partners business owners are coming back looking for advice on the current reality. A few have lost big contracts, which represent a good percentage of total sales. Some are mildly panicking because phones aren’t ringing, while others are just plain fearful of the impact that the economy continues to have on client confidence.

Regardless of the reason, they are referring back to the Prosperity framework, language and resources. In turn, I am referring some of them to industry resources, such as budgeting and estimating software from, business systems from, health and safety compliance training from, and peers within their same sector and Chapter who I know will mentor and nudge them along through this time of uncertainty.

I’m grateful that the tools we provide in the Build Your Prosperity seminar (formerly Introduction to Prosperity Partners) are providing a ground zero place to return to when things are feeling like they are about to come off the rails. It’s rare in business to have a bridge from the island on which you dwell in your business. A place you often find yourself feeling very alone and responsible for others livelihoods.

The Prosperity Partners program is a bridge between questions and wisdom.

Many of our industry pioneers and present-day champions are also feeling the fear in the consumer market. My business, after 22 years, has the same pulse this year as most others in my generation to whom I’ve spoken this year.

There are lots of unprecedented questions, a general desire to cut back on some services, and generally, a sense of pessimism in the air. I know by being positive and deploying creative marketing and clever levering of established relationships we will be just fine, and my company will have a profitable year — in some way, shape or form. And, if you plan carefully, so will yours.

But when you’re really feeling unsure about the year ahead, and how your sales and business will perform, it’s really hard to forecast and budget, especially when you aren’t sure which sales targets are reasonable. Therefore, it’s hard to know how to charge for your services to recover overhead expenses.

It’s a Catch-22. It’s a bit of the chicken and the egg stuff. Which comes first – sales targets to determine overhead recovery percentage, or figuring out the overhead you are required to recover and therefore need ‘X’ dollars in sales? Do I advertise more? Do I liquidate some equipment? Do I buy more equipment to meet an optimistic sales target? Do I wait for sales to materialize, and then take on more equipment to meet demand? We’re all in good company.

With the Prosperity program, we have a great resource — each other. Peer groups are invaluable. Your Chapter is a great place to create one of your best resources: experienced brains to connect with!

At recent province-wide Chapter relevance discussions, a unanimous desire emerged among the members to share ideas and challenges and talk through solutions with peers. Every Chapter representative agreed that Prosperity Partners is the venue to facilitate and initiate peer sharing and support. This is why we run Build Your Prosperity seminars with a minimum of 12 participants, so there is peer sharing and input in every business discussion which emerges during the day.

Speaking of resources, in a recent Build Your Prosperity seminar, attendees were overwhelmed to learn of the Prosperity Partners template library ( Click on ‘improve your best practices’ button. If you haven’t checked it out, go for it!

Jacki Hart may be reached at