Times are hard. No-one’s saying otherwise.
Sure, the global economy is in a bad way, and may get worse before it gets better. We all know people who’ve been laid off, or businesses that have gone under. There’s a bankruptcy court close to me that has a four month waiting list.
If your business is still around, however poorly sales are at the moment, then you are to be congratulated. It’s pretty brutal out there.
But don’t let the media talk you into thinking that it’s all doom and gloom. People are still buying things. Businesses are still selling things. Maybe not as much and to not as many, but commerce is still rolling on.
I truly believe that the majority of businesses that will fail by the end of the current economic turmoil are ones that were still using outdated methodologies in terms of strategy, marketing, sales and customer service. Business methodologies rooted in commercial environments that haven’t been seen in more than thirty years. It’s a kind of “Digital Darwinism” – the organizations most adaptable to change have a greater chance of survival.
What I’m saying to you is that, tough as it may seem, now really is the time to stop procrastinating and implement new internal and external business processes to have your company best positioned to ride out the current storm – and take best advantage when the sun comes out again. I’m not saying it will be easy. I’m certainly not saying it’s a guarantee to survival. But if you’re looking to load the dice in your favor, I can’t think of a better use of time, money, and resources right now.
Investing In the Future
What kinds of things am talking about? It’s about aligning every customer touchpoint to deliver better, more relevant, more amazing customer experiences. It’s not just about tangibles such as reviewing your website, sales materials, advertising strategy or sales commissions. It’s refocusing the entire organization around the ongoing and unending quest to do things better for the customer.
Know that even once the economy bounces back, we’re not going back to ‘the good old days’. The climate will be different. Customers will be different, so business will need to be different.
Lemonade From Lemons
On a positive note, there are growing signs that the worst may be over. Business confidence seems to be showing the first green shoots of growth. Over the 2008 Christmas holiday season, Google served up 57% MORE search ads compared to same period in 2007. A survey by McGraw-Hill found that, during the last big global recession in the early 1980s, companies that maintained or increased their marketing spend saw an average sales growth of 275% in the following five years.
When you get dealt lemons, make lemonade.