Focus on high-potential customers. Make sure you focus on building relationships with ambitious customers in growth industries where pent-up demand is going to be unleashed once the economy turns the corner. If you're running a B2C business, focus on cash-rich or long-term-oriented consumers to lead you into recovery. But don't forget to stock up to take advantage of the pent-up demand that will be unleashed once other consumers get their confidence back.

Don't assume a return to normal. The longer and deeper the recession, the more likely consumers will adjust their attitudes and behaviors permanently. Their coping mechanisms may become ingrained and define a new normal. In addition, the competitive landscape will have changed. A competitive shakeout along with new product launches may mean consumers are looking at your products and services through new lenses. Listen closely to your customers and revise your market segmentation assumptions.

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