In my previous blog I mentioned how desolate Santa Barbara’s State Street seemed when we were down there. It triggered something that has been bouncing around in my mind for a couple of weeks. People are tired of hearing about the economy. It is everywhere and you can’t escape it. On the radio every ad is about the tough times, TV blares how bad the markets did (today the market was the lowest since 1997), you even hear it in the pulpits on a weekly basis.
There are a couple of things that I learned from some of the business books I have read to help you get through this.
The first things is to Add Value. In every store you see signs for gigantic sales. When you go in you realize that you are really being duped. 40% off of the original price sounds great but that store never sold it for the original price so the sale isn’t much lower than normal. Customers know this and will remember the attempt to be tricked once they have money again and won’t go back. Why are stores like Wal-Mart and McDonalds doing so well? Because when people purchse there they are getting more for their money. Translate that into Value.
If you want to succeed with people don’t offer them some deal which is the same as everyone else’s, instead add value to thier lives. Show them they are getting more for their buck than the other guy. It is not about quality right now it is about quantity. If they know they will get their moneys worth from you they will come back again and again. People want to spend.
The second thing that you need to do is innovate. Common argument during downturns is to out advertise the other guy so when the money does come back your name will be the first one they think of. If you spend too much time and resources on that you will have very little to keep ahead of the curve. Spend on some innovation that will allow you to be positioned right for recovery. Maybe this some research, maybe it is streamlining your operations, or maybe it is exploring expansion into new fields. If you are in duck and cover mode right now you might miss some golden opportunities to catch the next wave. Look for opportunities to expand and this will motivate your employees who come to work each day thinking it might be their last.
When you add value to the customer and to the company you will see new life start to flow in. Position yourself in such a way that you are meeting the needs of your current customers better than your competitor and put your company in the way of exciting new opportunities that will allow you to grow. If you are doing this you will find that both the customer and the employee will tighten their belt a little tighter and work a little harder to make it happen.