Things are looking up. OK, maybe the outlook is not as sunny as it was a few years ago, but it’s not so bad. Growth may be slowing, but there’s still growth. Employment keeps going up.

Consumer spending, the engine that drives the economy, is vigorous. The stock market is robust. Concerns that we’re heading toward the next recession appear to be evaporating.

On the whole, business owners have lots to feel good about. Firms may see some slowdown in business in the coming months, but not a severe drop. That said, a lot of factors are in play at the moment that could sway things in one direction or the other. At present, the glass looks more half full than half empty.

When business conditions are marginal, it’s tempting to circle the wagons and maintain status quo until they improve. By doing so, you risk missing the boat.

As with stock, the time to invest in your business is when demand has slowed so that you’ll be better prepared to take advantage of the opportunities when it revives again. If you wait, you’ll be trying to catch up with those who didn’t.

Those of us who have been in this industry for some time know the ups and downs are to be expected. The key to surviving is to make good use of the down cycle by preparing for the next up cycle, confident that when the economic winds shift clients will come back.

Now is the time to act boldly and move forward with your plans to grow your business. Start the process to hire that position you’ve been sitting on the fence about. Undertake that office remodel or move you’ve been thinking of.

Develop a strategy and business plan to expand into a new market or specialty niche. Or, perhaps, diversify by investing in that business opportunity you’ve been considering, opening a retail storefront, or trying your hand at product design.

Focusing on growing your business is much more constructive, and in the long run more productive, than worrying about why you aren’t getting more business. I’m a firm believer that when you exude confidence and put out positive energy good things follow. Just by taking action you increase your chances of making valuable connections and planting seeds that can grow into future business.

At the same time, you need to exercise good judgment and management skills. Whenever you make plans to invest in a new venture, whether adding staff or starting a new line of business, you must practice due diligence.

Conduct the necessary research and information gathering. Consult with your financial advisor or bank. Create the appropriate plans, cash flow and revenue projections, and budgets. Careful preparation will increase your confidence that you can move forward with your venture without putting your business at great risk.

Business conditions are never ideal, even in the best of times. Don’t let a dip deter you from following through on your plans for growth. By doing your homework, consulting with colleagues and business associates, and following good management practices, you can be confident that the investment you make now will pay dividends in the future.