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Tough times help you understand your customer

Small businesses face the same challenges in the economic downturn. Learning how other industries deal with hard times can help you figure things out too.

One of the more interesting aspects of the recession is how smart businesses, regardless of their market segment have learned to adapt and play to their strengths.

Street-fashion blog Hypebeast just published a series of interviews with independent designers that showcases how these small businesses are dealing with market dynamics and staying successful.

I really like this quote from Frank Liew, founder of qubic store, quarters boutique, and solejam.com.

What has had the biggest impact on you from a business and personal perspective?

It's been interesting seeing a textbook scenario come to life, and seeing the way a certain market reacts to it. This to me is a real privilege, as it's quite a rare occurrence that you can see a single event slowly ripple outwards to such far reaching parts of the overall spectrum. I'm all for learning lessons, and I'm in awe of this moment in history we're in. I don't see it as a bad thing, if anything, it has made all of us understand the market and consumer a lot better.

It has also been comforting for us to see that what we've done over the past couple of years have been the right steps, as we're still trading above our 2008 figures right now and hitting our growth targets. Sometimes knowing when you've done something right can be a lot more harder to find out than when you've done something wrong.

Sometimes we need to get outside our core area of expertise and see how others are dealing with challenges. Definitely worth a read.

Follow me on Twitter @daveofdoom