I am lucky to be in a business which is not really affected by the economy. I own a cell phone repair shop and we mostly repair the iPhone. A cell phone is a device that people rely on every day for their daily needs. People desperately need our repair services when they break their device. The type of business that you own is important but you are right to say that smart marketing can make the difference.
I've owned several businesses in my life and they were all successful because I learned where my customers congregated. I also knew the whole profile of my customer base. For example, I knew the reasons they bought my products and why they chose me over my competitors. Hint: it's not always about the price. #1 is always to provide excellent customer service. Excellent customer service means repeat customers and referrals. Referral marketing is still a big part of the success of my business today.
Don't blame the economy because it's just a small part of your business's success factor. Visit successful business owners outside of your niche and find out what is working for them. I find that my local chamber of commerce offers great resources to help my business out.
I think the economy has everything to do with the situation for small businesses. It affects people on big scenario, when the economy goes bad, lots of people get fired, this way they can't afford spend money unless they really need it. Even basic needs as food, they try not to spend as much as they would if they had a job. Economy affects not only businesses but a whole package of areas in the society.
Prostarprofit, you are so right. I totally agree with you. For example, there are a lot of people how want to build a cusotm home right now and searching for a builder online right now. You just need to be on the first page of Google and you are in business. There are always people looking for your product or service, they just need to find you.
Many business today are struggling they like to blame the economy the economy really has nothing to do with it. What is required is that you become a sophisticated business owner. During the depression when most business cut back on their advertising a number of them increased their advertising and became the business they are today businesses like Kellogg and Proctor and Gamble.