Gas prices are rising, real estate is in a slump, and economic naysayers are having a field day. Do you allow yourself to get sucked into the negativity? Or are you focused on growing sales? I took a little trip around the Web to see what steps others are recommending to make your business thrive when the economy is struggling: Jim Blasingame, the host for the radio talk show The Small Business Advocate, was interviewed by U.S. News and said, "Spend more time talking to your customers and less time listening to the talking heads on television." Jim sees opportunity for those who partner with their customers; both to offer services and to ensure that receivables don't get out of hand. Gary Harpst, founder of Six Disciplines, points out the importance of not assuming you will fail during slow times. In a recent TV interview he says: "Don't jump to conclusions. Lots of businesses are growing right now." Then I stumbled upon Scott Ginsberg's comments on being a "resource." If we are going to establish a "partnership" with our customer rather than being a vendor, then learning how to position ourselves as a resource has value. Scott offers 5 ways to be perceived as a valuable resource. Great stuff. Sales pro Daniel Sitter at Idea-Sellers writes about Finding Sales Success in a Recession. He suggests retraining yourself -- learning something new that creates added value. Become the expert in your market. Or learn about new products you can offer. Columnist Laura Tiffany at Entrepreneur.com offers practical, positive advice. The tagline of her article is inspiring in and of itself: "If the experts agree that we're in a recession, these tips will have you so far ahead of the game, the news will barely register." She quotes business coach Ron Finklestein, who suggests asking for referrals: "They know others who could use your products and services, if [you] just ask," Finklestein says. "[Referral marketing] costs no money and, if the relationship is good, this introduction can lead to some quick sales." Debbie Mrazek at The Field Guide to Sales offers the Top 7 Ways to Recession Proof Your Business. She suggests checking on lost proposals (there may still be a chance to get the business) and creating package options to beat your competition. Steve Haar at Search Engine Watch offers a lesson in how to demonstrate the value of a service when times get tough and budgets are in danger of getting slashed, in Defending the Need for Searching During a Recession. Many of his tactics can be applied no matter what industry you're in. Greg Wittstock, editor of Pondeomium, says to turn a threat into an opportunity by performing a SWOT analysis. If you've ever completed a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) on your business, you know the value of this honest exercise of holding the mirror up to your business. Greg details how an identified "threat" can provide an opportunity not previously seen. An Associated Press article suggests putting your networking efforts on steroids during slow times. You have to do more than attend networking events. Quoting Julie Zobel Talenfield, a PR professional from Florida: "You have to get very involved in an organization, get on a committee, make a name for yourself." How about from one of the most famous men in business; he's been on top, lost it all and is now bigger than ever. What does The Donald have to say about the economy? Sit tight, do nothing with your money, ride it out if you can. When times get tough the one thing that will surely be neglected is ... us. Stress can lead to health problems, keeping us from managing our businesses successfully. Mary Emma Allen at HomeBizNews offers 5 Tips for Taking Care of Yourself as a Business Owner. What are you doing differently to remain successful during recession? Leave a comment with your advice. If you've written an article with advice for being successful during a slow economy, let us know.