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By Clark Howard, Jan 08, 2008

It's no secret that people are feeling squeezed and living on fumes during these slow economic times. This has been an ever-present issue among the presidential hopefuls. Meanwhile, President Bush is set to propose an economic stimulus package and the Democrats will do the same. But is this all too little, too late? After all, we may already be in a recession right now; for one thing, unemployment is up from 4.7 to 5 percent. Stop for a moment and think back to our last recession in spring 2001. Economists didn't recognize or confirm it as such until a year later! Of course, you know from your own life if things slow down -- you'll see less hours at work, slow business if you're an entrepreneur, etc.

We're definitely seeing the early warning signs of recession, so this is the time to get your act together. A slow economy actually yields opportunity. It's always best to start a business at this point of the cycle because space and labor come cheap. Entrepreneurs who can keep costs under control will survive. Technology can help in this respect by allowing you to work at home or remotely. At-home businesses are ideal, but beware of zoning laws if you're in the retail or restaurant fields. Meanwhile, what should you do if you face a layoff and feel the entrepreneurial spirit? Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. You've probably spent years developing knowledge, a skill set and contacts in your field. Stick to what you know -- you'll find your greatest opportunity there.

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