Friday, December 19, 2008

Are you hoping or planning?

As we more rapidly towards 2009 we see a disintegration of the world as we know it. Financial, political, health, energy.

Adjusting to changes is not easy and we more times than not are left wondering what to do. As a long distance running every day, or 6 days a week I train to get ready for those deciding moments when I need to be my best. Things might be going fine when in the middle of a race my race plan starts to fall apart I learned to improvise to change tactics do a surge, pick the pace harder, change what I’m doing as the race unfolds. So to in business.

The current situation keeps changing as we go and we find ourselves more vulnerable to outside forces, even things we did not even know where there to be worried about. The new fundamentals that are unfolding are not typical of the past cyclical changes we saw in the past. Instead they are representative of a permanent and structural change to the way we will do business in the future. Higher selling costs, continued margin pressure from the supply chain are new rules to deal with.

So what are you gong to do in the now. Hunker down and cut costs across the board and wait for things to improve. That is hope and hope is not a plan.

During any change or downturn cuts are usually necessary and prudent. However it makes no sense to just go out there and slash away uniformly or to go and cut discretionary spending across the board.

Look at your numbers. Numbers like classical logic is not sentimental. They will always tell the objective story with out bias or opinion. In good times and in bad taking a look at the numbers will reveal some positive trends and successes you are having. And I am sure there are some successes in your company. These points are where your business is making positive headway even in tough times. You need to move capital, your money, time, labor and recourses into these positive areas. The flip flop says to reduce your resources in areas that are not being positively productive. You need to put each aspect of your business through a ringer. Look at the ROI in each part and do what the numbers tell you to do.

Look at your customers. You are in this together. Show them, tell them you understand there needs with every interaction you have. As you fill their specific unique needs they will grow to appreciate you more.

Improve your service, Service improvements need to be pushed harder while you work though cost reductions.

Create relevant and timely promotions. Keep them easy to understand and follow. Displays that feature the right product to the right people at the right time. People are still going to buy things this year, either gifts for Christmas or a widget for a machine. They will still be buying something. Now will they buy it from you?

There are always winners and losers all the time in each era. So what will you do now? What can you do now? In times of change you need to create an environment of aggressiveness and creativity. Now is the time for hard evaluation and make strategic choices

Hope is not Planning

Larson note: This should come as no surprise, when doing a coupon or incentive driven piece. People are either going to go because of price or location or offer but price is the biggest pull. Do a little research and see if you can find out what your competition has in mind, then beet them at their own game. You only have to win by a little to win it all.

Howard Larson
Larson & Associates
Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition
Making good businesses great and great businesses even better

P.S. Get in control of your own marketing destiny with a guerilla marketing consultation. Call today and schedule your appointment.

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