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Buckle Down A slow economy doesn't have to spell trouble. There are always new ways to move forward.

By Chris Penttila

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Troy Wragg, 26, and Amanda Knorr, 25, co-founded real estate development firm Mantria Corp. three years ago with $5,000 and an interesting business proposition: The company would pay more than the asking price for properties if landowners agreed to be paid after Mantria sold their land. The business model worked--the Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, company reached $15 million in sales last year.

The U.S. housing market has changed drastically since 2005, however, and Mantria is experiencing the market aftershocks caused by the credit crunch and skyrocketing adjustable-rate mortgage payments. ARM resets "will definitely affect our business in real estate and real estate finance," Wragg says.

Now the 32-employee company is adjusting its business model to meet the demands of a tougher business environment. Mantria is diversifying into property title and focusing on properties in lower-priced geographical areas. It's also offering buyers additional financial concessions, which will decrease the company's profit margin by 5 percent this year. "That 5 percent is a haircut we've taken to make sure the buyer is getting more out of the deal," Wragg says. "We'll buckle down by taking less pay."

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