Preparing for Recovery is the Only Way to Profit from It
Congratulations to those of you with a strong heart and commitment to success by having the vision and confidence to understand that marketing is critical to your long-term success. By the time our government officially recognizes an economic recession, the seeds of economic growth are already being planted. On the flipside, once the government gets around to announcing an economic recovery, the companies who have been on the sideline will start to market their companies again, but it will be too late. For those of you who gauge your business decisions on what the government is indicating, just remember they move very slowly, and more times than not “are a day late and a dollar short.” That’s no way to run your company.
The biggest problem we have is understanding the times. I was in the offices of Whitaker-Cooper CPA and read a quote from Shelby Davis: “You make most of your money in a bear market, you just don’t realize it at the time.” It is now that you must be planting the seeds for your future. If you have to cut back on employees, inventory, office space, or any other expense line item in order to keep your company healthy, do it. Whatever your cuts are, however, don’t eliminate your marketing plan. If you don’t have one, get one and start executing a plan. The absence of a marketing plan during this period of time is like being on life support. You are only delaying the inevitable.
The philosophy of plant, cultivate and harvest has never been more applicable. The seeds you plant today will be what you harvest in another year. Be careful; just like a garden your brain does not know the difference between bad seed (thoughts) and good seed (thoughts). If you are planting negative seeds today, you will be reaping bad crop in another year. The trouble is you will forget it was you who planted the seed, and you’ll start to blame others for your bad crop. It is critical that your business plan includes a strong marketing component, and that it is reviewed with outside mentors.
The difficulty with a good marketing plan is that it requires expertise and precision of execution. Now is not the time to try new and untested tools; instead, get creative with proven tools that produce results. Here is the trick to marketing: 50% of what you spend will never be realized in measureable result. The other 50% will be difficult to measure. That does not mean you will see no results it just means that good marketing has a trickle down effect and people find out about you because the plan is working but they can’t recall how they found out about you. The other issue is that in these types of times people want to do things that will cause the phone to ring tomorrow or get an order tomorrow without understanding the value of building consistency and a powerful brand. I call these the scramblers; they are scrambling for anything and everything. Cutting their prices and taking orders, cutting the quality in order to afford the price they gave, giving huge “guarantees” – watch out for the “lifetime guarantee” ploy. A guarantee is only as good as the character of those giving it; if they aren’t in business in two years, what good is the guarantee?
I recently told a coach who was struggling with his team that adversity causes winners to rise to the top and the losers to scramble. The great companies are in the boardrooms right now licking their chops because they realize that with good marketing, patience and focus, they will eventually dominate their markets.
Patience gets us because it requires faith in our future. We are in the cultivation cycle of business. We are not in the harvest mode right now. If you try to force the harvest before its time, you will fail. Cultivate your business, work your business plan like never before, get outside help, and develop a strong and aggressive marketing plan that will keep your business afloat until economic recovery is complete.
Remember, everything starts with us individually. As much as we’d like to believe that we can control our spouses, our parents, our children, our friends, our employers, or our employees, it’s just not that way. The only person you can control completely is YOU. Focus there; you’ll be amazed at the results.
This cycle we are in is going to take some time to run its course. Cultivate wisely.