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(CNNMoney.com) — 1. Stop paying attention to the bad news  At Austin-based Falcon Containers, CEO Stephen Shang suggested in 2009 that his sales team quit watching economic news for two weeks and spend more time connecting with customers. Result: The company, which leases repurposed shipping containers as storage units, made a deal to create an Iraqi “village” out of the containers for an anti-IED effort by the U.S. Air Force. That led to more military business — fostering a 20% sales increase. 2. End a contentious relationship  Tired of worrying that his creative talent would quit because the main contact for a huge client was abusive, Kim McConnell, founder of agricultural marketing communications firm AdFarm, pulled the plug on the relationship. Morale improved immediately. “Very quickly the revenue from this very sizable account was made up,” he says. “I guess it put pressure on our people to go and find the revenue we lost from this client.”

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