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What is the correct way to respond to a market slowdown?

I attended an industry function recently where an acclaimed economist spoke eloquently about the tough times ahead and the need to avoid unnecessary risks, such as expanding your business. Sage advice, but taken out of context this could lead store owners to miss opportunities to win market share or, worse yet, watch as strong competitors steal market share away from them. I thought instantly of the story of the successful hot dog vendor who listened to the advice of his more educated son warning of a pending recession. Based on that advice, the vendor cut back on inventory and resigned himself to the inevitable drop in hot dog sales, creating, in effect, a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

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