The beginning of a new year is, of course, when people take a look at what they've been doing -- or not doing -- and make plans to do better. This schedule does not apply to entrepreneurs.
The smartest entrepreneurs change course any time new opportunities or challenges arise. They gather information constantly and move on it immediately. They embody those two words Winston Churchill liked so much: Act now.
Inc. has not been standing still, either. In 2009, we will be publishing two combined issues, the one you're holding in your hands and a July/August issue. We're also introducing a section called The Goods. It features short reviews of the best and latest technology products and services for small and midsize businesses -- including some much-welcome free stuff. If you visit Inc.com, you'll find a page on which you can add your own two cents about these products and services. The best and most helpful reviewers will be asked to contribute to this new section in the magazine (yes, we want to put you to work), so don't forget to provide your contact information.
We've also moved things around a bit. Our columnists Norm Brodsky and Joel Spolsky now follow the opening section, Launch, formerly known as Priority. Stories about management and leadership, sales and marketing, finance, and the like have moved to the back of the magazine into another new section, called Strategy. Finally, careful readers will notice that our typeface has changed and that the pages have a sparer, more elegant look.
Everyone at the magazine has been involved in this redesign; we've been discussing and formulating it for months. But the bulk of the work has come from the art department, under the creative and gentle leadership of Blake Taylor, and from Dan Ferrara, the magazine's deputy editor. Blake and his deputies, Sarah Garcea and Jason Mischka, offered up many great ideas and clever designs in the past six months while managing to produce the monthly issues and maintain their good humor and patience. Dan, always smart, always calm, always precise, helped all of us come to the right decisions. Dan is the person who looks carefully at everything we do, who probes, fixes, rewrites, and polishes.
Our hope is that you will find this issue easier on the eyes but as timely as ever. Since last May, Inc. has been publishing stories whose aim is to help readers navigate the unsettling global financial crisis. This month, we dig in again with "The Ultimate Business Tune-up" (please see page 70), which offers tips from some of the nation's most thoughtful entrepreneurs on what they are doing to continue to thrive during tough times. It's another offering from the annals of act now.