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Running or managing a small business often leaves little time to keep track of national, and even regional, economic indicators that might affect your industry and your specific operation. Yet conditions such as interest rates, inflation, gross national product, stock prices and consumer confidence have direct impact on your profitability and on relationships with vendors, customers and even employees. During periods of economic decline, whether widespread or cyclical for a particular type of business, entrepreneurs are most likely to bear the brunt. Yet the fact that conditions are changing opens up opportunities for resourceful firms to outsmart larger competitors who, during a downturn, carry on business as usual or are unable to adapt quickly - except to fire employees.
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