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Construction is known to be a cyclical business; when other mishaps coincide with the down part of a cycle, it can put a firm under. That almost happened to my firm during this last recession, in 1990. Many firms went under that year, and we very nearly joined them. Looking back, I think we survived not because our numbers were better than some others', or even because our work was necessarily better; we survived because at some point we decided we would, and took positive steps to stick around rather than give in. It All Started When… The hard times at Kitchens, Et Cetera, my design/build kitchen and bath firm, started before the general recession set in. In August 1988, I hired