The Tough Economy…


I get tons of requests & questions through my website, I wish I had time to answer the all, but I just can’t.  However I recently received a comment from a read of my book and was compelled to respond.  I think this applies to a lot of us these days, please see her comments & my response….

Hi Dave, We have a business in XXXXXX, XX.

I’ve loved your book but we have lots to learn as I am a negative, frustrated person who has been trying to change, but frankley with  this business climate, It’s extremely hard. I’m frustrated because  there is no reason for this. It’s a mind set in this area, but we  get tired of trying to change peoples mindset and be the  cheerleaders for the area.

I loved the positive thinking and have been trying to get into all  of that but I wanted to be “enlightened” in a biblical way and your  book does that. Thank you.

I have some questions and one comment.

I know that most of your book was for regular people, I took offense  and had a hard time at the part where you told everyone to never pay  retail for anything.

We have a coffee shop with food, furniture and more. How would you  feel if people came into your restaurant and asked if that was the  best price you could give them and walk out. We have that all the  time in the furniture business because of what the media has  created. It’s extremely discouraging!!!

Here are some other things I have comments and questions about. We  are really struggling right now because of the economy. We have had  to take our retirement out of our accounts to pay bills as we also  have 2 extra houses we can’t sell. Great huh! This has been a long,  long two years.

Do you have any suggestions or comments on how to stay positive  through this.

Our banker told us the other day that this area is really in a depression. Great huh.

Are you speaking anywhere and do you ever address just business  people. Thanks Dave!

Hey Mary! normally I can’t answer all the emails I get just because  there is no physical way I can do that… however your email struck a  chord with me because tough times is no respecter of persons. We have  all been hit hard and just because I have achieved a certain amount of  success in my life… one good recession can wipe out a lot of what we  have worked so hard all these years to build up. So it is all  relative. By the way… we have property that we can’t sell either…  it may be larger value but all the same if you can’t sell it… it  doesn’t really matter what the value is!!! …so I am aware of all the  ”ughs” you are going through!

First let me qualify something… when I encourage people not to pay retail… that is for all big purchases… as I couldn’t stay in  business too long either if every one wanted a discount on our rib  dinners. When you are making big purchases like refrigerators,  couches, and stuff like that… many retailers will deal with you.  Basically I was suggesting that every purchase should be well thought  out and to make sure you have done your homework.

Next… I need to encourage you to get rid of your whining, moaning,  and complaining. I know exactly how you feel because there are days  when you just want to grab your hair and pull it out while screaming  ”Why Me???” If you feel the need to… go ahead and get it out of  your system…  but then make a choice that you are going to move  forward.

Here’s the thing… you can’t change what is happening with the  economy. The only thing you can change is your attitude and how you  are going to reinvent yourself to move forward.

Yes it has been a long two years… but just think you have two great years ahead of you if you choose to focus on what’s ahead.

You see when you say “The Economy is causing me to lose money… The Economy has caused people to lose their jobs…  The Economy has hurt  my business… then you have made a choice to be “a victim” of The  Economy. Everything changes the moment you start saying “My  Economy!” …all of a sudden you are now responsible for what happens  in your life.

I have been bankrupt twice and know what it means to see the banks  come and repo your cars and I know how agonizing it is to have to go  to my wife and ask her for her jewelry so I could take it to a pawn  shop. But if I had given up on myself back then… I would have never  had the self esteem to believe in myself to go forward with fulfilling  my dream of creating Famous Dave’s.

The real unfortunate thing is that… it is no longer business as usual…and business will never go back to being like it used to be.

Yes you are losing your retirement little bit by little bit.

But I am also believing that you will get through this… if you first don’t give up on yourself.

Here’s the tough part… as much as you would like to be blameful…  you can’t… it serves no purpose.

You can’t be using all your energy to be whining about what has  already happened and stuff you can’t control. You need to be  preserving your energy for being optimistic about your future. You  need to using your energy being creative to find solutions to better  your situation. You need to using your energy to being cheerful and  forward looking so people will want to be around you and be uplifting  to you.

Here’s what I found the hard way… your life will never be the same.  So quit living in the dreams you used to have… and start figuring  out how you are going to reinvent yourself for going forward. What you  do going forward may not be easy and you are certainly going to have  to make some tough choices. That is called “life”… but look at it  this way… you are a smarter person today for all the years that you  have been able to be in business and build up some equity even though  you may be losing it right now… but what you have learned… nobody  can take this away from you. You have a lot of experience from being  in business this long and now you need to really dig deeper to use  this experience to find better solutions.

Life is tough and the tougher you are on yourself… the easier life  will be on you!

I am glad to see that you are talking to your banker… that is a good thing… he may have his responsibilities to protect his bank’s assets but the worst thing you can do is to avoid talking with your  creditors… even if you don’t have the right answers they are looking  for. Just keep talking to them and asking them for whatever help they  can give you.

Probably the most important thing you can do is to not lose your optimistic attitude that give you the dreams to go into business in  the first place. Being “optimistic” is not the same thing as being  Happy Happy and not cognizant of the seriousness of the challenges you  are facing. Being optimistic is being fully aware of the challenges  that are ahead of you… but you go forward believing that one way or  another you will get through your tough times… that is what really  matters.

So far… you have been sharing all the “material things” you have  been losing to the economy… start focusing on the blessings you have  in your life. Find the real things to be thankful for and focus on  these things.

Yes… my wife and I have lost some of the things we have worked so  hard to acquire over the years… but we still have our family that we  love. I am believing that we are going to be better people for what we  have gone through… even though right now we may not know how it is  all going to work out… but I am counting on the fact that what I  have developed in “experience and a great network of people” over the  years… I am sincerely believing that “The Best Is Yet To Come!”

You see when you are whining and complaining about how tough life is being on you and what you are losing… nobody wants to be around  you… everyone has their own problems too and the last thing they  want to hear is someone else whining, moaning, and complaining.

Do you really think that the creative solutions will come to you while you are whining? Do you really think that the people who might have  the creative ideas and the financial solutions will come to your aid  while you are whining, moaning, and complaining? Of course NOT! They  are going to avoid you like the plague!!!  They don’t want whatever is bringing you down to rub off on them!

So get out of your pity party… it isn’t doing you any good!

A long time ago… I learned that it is not good to tell people your problems because 80% of the people could care less and the other 20%  are actually glad!

When someone is having a tough time dealing with crushing adversities  and they maintain a positive optimistic outlook on life and the keep  their noses to the grindstone determined to never give up… the  people with creative solutions and financial resources will look at  this person and they will say… “Now there is someone we need to  help! …because they are good for the community! …they are not  quitters and their determination is something to be admired!”

I know being grateful is a tough thing for you right now… but it is your best answer.

At Famous Dave’s ( and I am not talking out of school here because we  are a publicly traded company ) …we have had a tough go of things ourselves… sales have been soft and we have had to make some very  tough decisions. We have had to close some marginal restaurants and we  have had to stream line our operations including down sizing or “right sizing” as some want to say… and laying off people we have come to  love and appreciate. But this last quarter even though we have had a  decrease in overall sales… we actually made more money then we did  last year at the same time. But we had to go through the angst of  making some really tough decisions that caused us much soul searching.

Next we gathered all our best minds to figure out how we could retrain our people to leave their own problems at home so while they are at Famous Dave’s that they can be even more cheerful and welcoming to our valued guests. We recognized that if we were going to have a fun place where our weary customers who were also getting beat up by the economy would feel welcome… that we had to step up our efforts to be even  more cheerful than we have ever been before. This last year, we have  put more of our key people through leadership training then we have  ever committed to in our entire 15 year history! And it is paying  off… our team is up to the challenge and we are all together in our optimistic beliefs that The Best Is Yet To Come!

We also worked hard at making sure our food was the best tasting food that we could prepare… so people just had to come back to us. We created some new specials that worked out really well. We put in some hard thinking to come up with some new promotional ideas that have  also paid off. We have come up with more ideas in this last two years  then we have ever come up with during our entire 15 years being in  business! Today our restaurants are running more efficiently then they  have ever been running before! …and when things turn around… we  are going to be in a better position to take advantage of the improved  economy and make up what we have lost.

There is no doubt in my mind that we have to recognize that these  times are not business as usual… everyone is going to have to work  harder then they have ever worked before. There is no going back…  only moving forward.

My questions to you…

Are you working longer harder hours to improve the quality of your  food drastically enough to cause your customers to take notice and  then spread the word around town that they need to come and check out  your new tasty delicious food?

Are you working harder on yourself to be a bit more cheerful everyday  and put on your make-up a little bit more special so you can wow  everyone that walks in your business?

Have you worked harder at cleaning up your restaurant and sprucing it  up so that it sparkles a little bit more so that your guest  immediately recognize the difference?

Have you inspired your employees to be more cheerful to your guests?

Are you going out of your way to acknowledge and greet everyone that walks in your door?

Have you wracked your brain coming up with some ideas how you can  create more value to your guests when they come to visit you?

Are you working on sprucing up the houses you can’t sell so when the economy picks up again that your properties are the first to sell?

Are you leaving your problems at home so you don’t run off your  customers because they have their own problems and they don’t really  need to visit your place of business to hear you whine, moan, and  complain?

Go on line… and order Willie Jollie’s audio CD… “Every Setback Is  A Setup For A Comeback”

Start listening to positive audio books in your car as you are driving around.

Or go online and take our 2 day LifeSkills for Leadership seminar…  it will jumpstart your life and your business… it is what we put our  key executives through earlier this year at Famous Dave’s… the  website is … >>> I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS  FOR YOU  ASAP!

The lessons are:

1. You are not going to change “The Economy” but you can change your attitude and how you are going to deal with your tough times.

2. Believe that you will get through these tough times… and you are going to be tougher, wiser, and more optimistic about your future.

3. Get used to the fact that you will need to reinvent yourself so  that you can be the architect of your future and not a victim of change.

4. Quit grousing about what you are losing… you can’t get it back…  so don’t live in the past… it will only grate on you and that is not  good.

5. Start being optimistic about your future and start focusing on the blessings you have in your life.

6. Quit whining, moaning, and complaining so that you don’t run off  the people who may be able to help you!

7. Start a lifequest to transform who you are now into a positive lifeforce that will make the world a better place!

My final thoughts are that everything I read in your email is all  about you and what you are losing… I learned my biggest lesson…  was that when I got knocked down to my knees… and this happened when  I got sober 15 years ago…that learned… I had to get Dave Anderson  out of the way and that I needed to trust in a higher power–God..  that I finally learned that life was all about giving and not getting.  I learned that my higher purpose in life is to be obsessively devoted  to the service of others to make their life better. When you can start  living your life looking how to bless others throughout your day…  you will find that all the people who you have helped will soon give  of themselves to make your life blessed. Go to sleep repeating the  23rd Psalm. Many nights I have gone to bed repeating over and over  again hundreds of times… I am a child of God. If God before me…  who can be against me! The Best Is Yet To Come!

God Bless You.. and I wish you peace!


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