Long faces and dire predictions aren’t uncommon nowadays, with the housing market in shambles and unemployment on the rise. But the economy is on an endless cycle, and where there’s a boom, there’ll always be a bust, eventually. That’s the stance taken by most of this week’s poll respondents. Fully half of our readers say that this is just business as usual. Nearly a third, surprisingly, were enthusiastic and claim to thrive in more difficult markets. The remaining 21% are just wishing the downward spiral would end. Robert Francis, president of Planned Companies in Parsippany, takes an optimistic stance, seeing the difficult economy as a chance to improve his business. Here is what he has to say:

“Economic conditions like what we have today are an opportunity for a service company like mine to look internally for ways to enhance our service offerings. We want to ensure that we retain our current customers and look for ways to enhance what we provide on a day-to-day basis. It’s a chance to look inward and see how you’re doing and where you can improve. Everyone’s feeling it right now, the tenants, the developers, the owners, they’re feeling it on so many different levels that, as a service provider, you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to not add to the already tough climate.

“We want to look critically at what we’re doing and make sure we’re meeting or exceeding expectations so that when we get out of these tough times, we’re poised for growth.

“We can feel the pinch as well. If the owners or developers or management companies are struggling, then they’re looking for ways to enhance or streamline their bottom line, and they may look for economies from a service provider such as my company. They may say, “Well, can we streamline the cleaning?” They don’t want to sacrifice quality, but they do want to look inward and see if there are ways to streamline, and we’re always looking internally as well, especially now to see if we can accommodate those needs. Fortunately, I haven’t seen much cutting back in the service area so far.”

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