Wow, this last year has been something else, huh? The fallout from Wall Street’s financial collapse, the mortgage crisis, the global economic downturn, high unemployment…I think I can safely say that this year has been “special”. And I doubt that few people have been untouched by these negative events.
The effect has been pretty severe for a lot of people…ranging from a sizable loss in net worth to desperate cash positions. While there are market niches and companies that have performed fine through all of this, most businesses and people have taken a serious hit.
I live and work within a subculture of abundance and optimism (marketing, business development, etc)…where we look past events such as these. And I believe that’s always the best way to operate. But at the same time, I think it’s helpful to recognize the difficult period we’ve faced in order to understand where we are in our businesses and where we want to take them.
Many Americans learned this year that some things are out of their control. We learned that in spite of our commitment, goals can be missed. We learned that in spite of our personal work experience and past performance, that we can still lose our jobs. And we learned that things that may have worked in the past might not work anymore. All of these events have served to create a general atmosphere of anxiety and uncertainty. My message in response is to recognize and forgive oneself of things beyond your control such as natural economic cycles and political dynamics.
Fortunately, most economists are saying that the worst is behind us. They say that 2010 and the next few years will show modest growth. I believe that. I also believe that what will vault us all back to abundance is a focus on the basics. I encourage you to let the politicians focus on the larger issues and direct yourself on the things to which you truly have control over…your own actions.
Outside of putting your business in a prudent financial position, here are some of the things I suggest for getting your business back on track (and taking a step beyond)-
Activity– first and foremost is activity. I’ve seen my share of organizations that have seemingly gone into hibernation mode. They laid off workers, froze spending, and have been essentially putting things on hold until the economy “comes back”.
While it’s certainly smart to evaluate and prudently keep expenses in check, a wait and see posture will not help…particularly with all the changes going on beyond general economic conditions. So waiting just isn’t a good answer. Action breeds momentum, interest and engagement.
The nice thing here is that while things have slowed down, there continues to be new developments in marketing, particularly online tactics. And there’s no lack of things to do positioning yourself within this medium. It just takes a commitment to do so.
Start again with a plan– one of the biggest mistakes that businesses continue to make is acting without a plan. Sure, I just advised you to act…but you need to have a plan that leads that activity. And base the plan on the needs of your market…rather than your own.
We continue living in a changing world. This means that you need a new plan of attack from time to time. When’s the last time you’ve updated your business or marketing plan?
Be adaptable- you’ve heard this before…that the only thing that is ‘consistent’ today is ‘change’. It’s true. I think though that all this change is taking its effect on a lot of us. We’ve been inundated with so much change (particularly with technology) that we’ve gone into some sort of “future shock” state.
I think there’s a smart way to adapt to change…and it’s not on a daily basis. The key is to follow your plan and add change that serves it. I can assure you that you’ll observe change in the next 12 months. How are you going to respond?
Learn to love technology- I recently spoke to an engineering association recently where one of the audience members openly scoffed at the idea of using Google and LinkedIn…this from an engineer!!
Based upon the direction the world is going, I just don’t see another alternative than to love (or at least accept) technology. If that’s too much for you, then surround yourself with people who know it.
Find a process/system that works– it can be a complex world right now…made more complex by financial pressures. In order to make it less complex (more simple), I recommend that you find systems or processes you can follow to lead you where you want the business to go.
This is one of the chief reasons I’ve associated myself with Duct Tape Marketing. They offer direction and a process to follow to get where you want your business to go. Whether you use this system or another, I encourage you to find processes that work. Taking this a step further, find people that have similar interests (such as strategic partners) who can help you in your journey.
Following these actions will take you where to go in spite of what’s going on around you. Position yourself for a thriving year in 2010 and beyond!