I had a great summer and I hope you did, too. But now the leaves are falling and the chill of winter is at our door. So here I am back at the keyboard to compose a love letter to all of you. Writing is a great way to share your thoughts, get something off your chest or just start a discussion. Sharing something of value, something educational should be your goal, I think. If I can teach someone just one thing that will help them to succeed, they will remember me for the rest of their life.
The people who I know personally that are very successful think a little different and do a few things differently. So over the next few days I will give you few ideas that may help you to get on top of this “economy.” Without further ado, I present for your reading pleasure, a few things that I’ve learned over the course of my life.
Recessions can be good for your business
Recessions are part of living in the USA
If you have lived here for any length of time you have been through a recession. Of the ones I can remember, the one in the 80’s was really bad (July 1981-November 1982). I was working my way through college and watched workers get picked off and fired one by one until it almost got to me and then things started to get better. It was the longest 14 months in my life (until now). Then there was one in the 90’s. I really didn’t notice that one at all. I just had my first son and the medical electronics industry (and their computer budget dictating the safety of my job) was virtually unaffected. It lasted from July 1990-March 1991, about 8 months. The next one was another 8 months. It started on March 2001 and officially ended November 2001. 9/11 kicked us all in the teeth during that one, but the IT support industry (and the internet) was booming. I did not notice much of a difference at all during those 8 months.
And so that brings us to now. I am told it started in December 2007 and we are still being strangled today. And again I don’t see too much of it in my daily life but I can see it everywhere in the stores with the “for lease” signs and the “going out of business” sales. I meet people all the time that tell me that they lost their jobs and can’t find another one. You can almost smell it in the air.
But again I don’t really see it affecting my business all that much. People would be foolish if they did not buy computers for their businesses and hire expert help to keep everything running properly (If you need expert help, order my free report on “How To Choose An Honest, Reliable, and Competent Computer Repair Technician from my website, see http://wisegroup-llc.com). Computers make people more productive, period. Faster computers waste less of any worker’s time. Preventing problems from slowing productivity down makes sense (and saves dollars). Backing up your data and having a BUDR (back up and disaster recovery) program will save your company if (or, rather, when) a disaster strikes. Remember the massive flooding that came out of nowhere in the spring of 2008? Many businesses never even heard of a DR (disaster recovery) plan, and many of those never recovered from the damage and went out of business.
Sure I have to work harder to get new business but it is still out there. So here is my advice. You need to be the best you can. Keep the customers you have and work hard to get new ones. Smile, things are only as bad as you think they are. Watch your cash flow and follow the market a lot, more than you ever did before (if you do not know how to do that, get in touch with me and I’ll help you out).
Be the best at what you do AND at your marketing
Be the best
Strive to be the best at what you do or make the best product that you can. Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin who is (according to Forbes) the 261st wealthiest person on the planet said, “When you create and deliver the BEST (product or service) there is, you don’t have to worry about not succeeding.” If you deliver the best product or service that you can, you can guarantee it with complete confidence. You will need to “spread the word” because no one will know how good you, your product, or your service are before they buy your “stuff.” They will only know you by what they read about you in your marketing. After you get the word out and people start to buy, then word of mouth will make a huge impact on your business if you are truly the best.
And while you are at it, try to see the best in all the people around you and tell them about it. Compliment them. There is nothing better than the feeling that you get when you can make someone feel good about themselves (and also the incredible difference you can make in the lives of others just by being honest, sincere, and open in your compliments).
Have an attitude.
Upbeat marketing requires happiness and optimism
As the song goes “just put on a happy face.” I know there is a lot of doom and gloom (just in time for Halloween– ha-ha) out there in the media but I think it is getting better every day and to a large extent it is what YOU make of it. It takes a winning attitude—a smile and an optimistic outlook. Feeling and thinking successful goes a long way. But it also takes quite a bit more to keep your business going, let alone growing (like lots of work, good cash flow and customers). I can’t stress the value of having an optimistic outlook especially in these dark economic times. People can smell fear and that goes for success as well. If you are feeling successful, optimistic and happy, people will feel it. They will feel the positive energy that comes from you. I don’t know about you, but I like to hang around happy, upbeat and successful people.
Do more marketing NOW- win big!
So do more marketing
During hard times, many businesses cut back on advertising and cut their marketing budget. The old quote “When times are good, you should advertise. When times are bad, you must advertise” is repeated all over the web these days—and with good reason.
Here is some food for thought: In a famous study of U.S. recessions, McGraw-Hill Research analyzed 600 companies from 1980-1985. The results showed that firms that maintained or increased their advertising during the 1981-1982 recession averaged significantly higher sales growth, both during the recession and after (for the following three years), when compared to those that eliminated or decreased advertising. By 1985, sales of companies that were “Aggressive Recession Advertisers” had risen 256% over those that didn’t keep up their advertising. In addition, a series of six studies conducted by the research firm of Meldrum & Fewsmith showed conclusively that advertising aggressively during recessions not only increases sales, but increases profits.
These days I have to work twice as hard on my marketing to get half the sales, but it is well worth it. The money is still out there and I am getting new market share at my competitors’ expense. In my case, people will always need their computers fixed, websites designed and programmed, and still others will need marketing help. I do my best to perform the very best job and at the same time find the best fit so my customers’ experience is supreme.
So can we learn anything from this? I think so. For me it means work a little harder and market a lot more.
Next time we’ll talk about a few more ideas to get you through these darkest days of winter- so that’s enough for this session.
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