No Excuses

Yes, it’s been a brutal 2 or 3 years for most of us. Whole industries were devastated in the recent recession.

But what’s more devastating is the potential lasting impact on the psyche of a business person or a marketer.

Too many of us become victims of circumstance, using the environment around us to make excuses.

Don’t let your situation be dictated by what’s happening. Don’t use the recession to excuse why your sales are down 30% year over year.

While you’re making excuses, other companies are springing forward and finding new opportunities where perhaps none existed previously.

Did you know that many titans of industry were conceived during the dark days of past recessions? Companies like Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Fed Ex and Revlon. These founders had a vision for innovation and launched into it full throttle, recession be damned. Read about those companies here:

Our agency faced the same situation. It is true that during tough economic times companies always cut marketing and public relations first. It is also true that no matter what the economic climate, businesses still need to sell their goods and services.

We decided that instead of sitting on our thumbs, we would move aggressively to win business from less agile, more expensive competitor agencies.

1. We did this by providing better value, not to be confused with simply cutting prices. A product/service can be priced high or low, but what ultimately matters is the perceived value.

2. We innovated quicker, creating new business offerings such as social media management and online reputation management as soon as the market signaled there was a potential need.

3. We brought on board talented people to our team that otherwise wouldn’t have been available during robust economic times. It is always true that the quality of your team impacts greatly the quality of your work.

4. We refocused on ways to provide better customer service. Studies show that it can cost five times more to find new customers than to retain your existing ones.

5. Like all companies, we found ways to do more with less. This may end up being the biggest impact of the recession as companies may not rehire old employees due to having found ways to simply work without them.

6. We continually educated ourselves, reading books that added to our skill sets. Here are a few books I highly recommend:

“Outrageous Advertising that’s Outrageously Successful” by Bill Glazer
“The Contrarian Effect” by Michael Port
“Built to Sell” by John Warrillow for those interested in one day selling their company

Of course we lost customers in the last three years, some who completely went out of business. But through a greater focus on taking care of our existing clients and finding new avenues of business, we increased our business year over year for the past three years.

The point of all this isn’t to toot our own horn, but rather to provide examples of what you can do to grow your sales regardless of good times or bad.

So instead of coming up with a list of reasons why things are so bad, come up with a list of things you can do that will help you double or triple your business in 2011.

Next newsletter I’ll share with you three strategies that we plan on implementing that you may find useful.

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