Recent riveting headlines like these cause business owners to worry about the future of the US economy:
– Bailouts Will Push US Into Depression
– USA 2008: The Great Depression
– The Second Great Depression – Is The US Headed Towards The Second Great Depression?
And last week one of the TV news stations in my area interviewed several local business owners and managers. Their responses were disheartening. They each said consumer spending isn’t business as usual.
Clearly, the US economic problems are not just affecting the federal government as news headlines might lead us to believe. Individual businesses across the country are also suffering.
From this dismal state two things can happen. The first is the economy gets worse. The US formally announces a national depression. Tens of thousands of businesses go under as in the first depression, unemployment skyrockets to 19% or higher again, more families are forced out of homes and into shantytowns. Life will seem bleak for a decade or more as the nation struggles to get back on its feet.
On the other hand, the economy can see a turnaround. Maybe the feds figure out how to fix the situation. Or maybe the US and UK turn to the UN for help. Maybe they accept a one-world currency. Businesses thrive. Life continues happily ever after.
Far fetched? Maybe. In either case, the outcome for individual business owners is determined not by waiting on government but by taking action. Smart action.
Some people say history repeats itself. I don’t believe that. However, I do believe we can learn from studying history. Specifically, we can learn from studying the mistakes made by business owners during the first depression.
The greatest mistake is doing nothing. That approach can never work. Just look at nature. Everything that stands still rusts, stagnates, or gets buried or carried away by the wind. It’s inevitable.
Companies that went under or lost their lead after the first depression had ended had taken a no-growth position during the depression. They stopped marketing. They foolishly imagined doing nothing would lead to stability and lessening of risk. They were wrong.
The companies that survived the depression and went on to prosper are those that continued marketing their products and services. Many of those companies are still around today.
Unfortunately, few business owners today have learned from those early lessons. Instead, they’ve stopped marketing too. They’ve slashed costs by firing people. They’ve stopped seeking new clients and new business. They are waiting for mystery money to magically appear. It will never come. Instead, those businesses will curl up and die. Or become shells of what they were just one or two years ago.
If your company isn’t seeing the growth you’d like from your business here’s a quick marketing action plan to get your company rolling:
1. use smart marketing to seek new clients
2. increase the purchasing frequency of existing clients
3. increase the purchasing volume of each purchase
4. implement a client retention/reactivation program
5. improve sales response and conversion of existing marketing materials
6. implement a formal systematic referral program
7. find new uses for existing products or services
8. stay away from all advertising where results cannot be tracked or measured!
9. make smart use of internet marketing
All of the steps above involve leveraging the marketing a business is already doing.
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