Participate Fully in Recession

A reader sent us a pin that said, “Recession: I choose not to participate.”

Great sentiment; however, if reality was that easily manipulated, car dealers would be moving inventory and we’d all retire at 65, eh? The market controls a business manager’s participation in the recession. Demand for product still decides employee payrolls. We can’t change what we refuse to acknowledge.

I choose not to step back, or practice denial (that’s never been my strong suit). Instead, I intend to fully engage in the recession. I intend to not only engage in it, but to learn from it and prevail.

It’s true that this economy is bringing some well-established Dane County companies to their knees, and those affected are all making tough, analytical choices and staking business careers to them. Some entrepreneurs own cyclical or seasonal companies that traditionally make most of their profit in one quarter and go cash negative the other three. Without the traditional line-of-credit structure, they, especially, are hurting.

If the “not participate” stance is overly simplistic, I think the other side of the coin is equally wrong-headed. We can’t lie down in the middle of the tracks and wait for an anticipated oncoming train. And so, while all area publications are making tough decisions, IB has just been redesigned to higher standards. We’ve changed our editorial calendar to more closely mirror your concerns in this recession, rearranged our content layout, and added more informational graphics.

This isn’t an infomercial — it’s a statement: IB fully appreciates that its success is, in part, predicated on your success. We’re not going to spin you on the idea that less is more; rather, we’re going to exert even greater influence on those endeavors that bring more value to the business community, and we’re going to support them to the best of our ability and resources.

That attitude also extends to events. Specifically, we invite you to participate in area events that affirm that you are a part of something special and vital to the success of the greater good. These events are reflective and respectful of what it takes to excel during difficult times, and in great American tradition, we’ll celebrate those hard-earned successes together. And Wisconsinites like to party.

In a nutshell, what I’m suggesting is that we all take a deep breath and control what we can control. Let’s support each other’s businesses in ways that make sense — and one of those is coming together to shine a light on what does work locally.

IB’s Commercial Design Awards

  • 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 6, at the Sheraton Madison Hotel.
  • Keynote: Bob Greenstreet, dean of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
  • Purpose: Awards program for architects, designers, contractors, builders, and owners of Dane County commercial projects completed in 2008.
  • Contact: to RSVP

Wisconsin Family Business Awards

  • May 7, starts 5:30 p.m., Marriott West.
  • Purpose: Awards program honoring 12 small businesses in Dane County, where family businesses from all over the state compete for recognition.
  • Reception/dinner. Google for more information, as plans for dinner progresses.

Dane County Small Business Awards

  • June 19, 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., Sheraton Madison.
  • Keynote: Robert Ian, hypnotist, author, magician, and, most important, change agent.
  • Purpose: Awards program honoring 12 small businesses in Dane County for excellence.
  • Web:

Wondering how to be invited to IB’s famous Extreme Networking Event in September? That’s where hundreds of top executives come together to network over a lavish reception.

It’s a two-part process. First, apply (or renew your application) via our Executive Directory at That’s the source of our selections for IB’s Executive Register listing printed in July. We’ll be picking our 800 soon — so do it today! Then these people selected receive invitations to the private reception.

Apply. Engage. Celebrate. Enjoy time with peers. (IB will provide the spotlight.)