The Trouble with Recession Thinking
Like a wildfire, recessions can be devastating. But they are an inevitable part of the economic process, and eventually good will come out of calamity. As the wildfire in nature will burn up dead foliage, those very ashes will in due time fertilize a new generation of growth.
But while the fire is raging, it is natural to get nervous, and common to see panic. But panic can cause people to lose their heads, and can make smart people do stupid things. A recession is no time for irrational judgements and frantic actions, despite the overwhelming feeling that naturally arises.
It is the people who push down the rising panic and take the time to think about a realistic plan of action that will come out the least damaged. But very few will take time to strategize, and will focus on ‘doing’ something… anything... instead. Unfortunately, action without thought is just wasted energy.
One of the biggest problems I see right now is that because of the financial crunch that we are still in, small business owners are asking the wrong questions. Most of the time, questions I receive revolve around the cost of a product or service, and how little someone can get said product or service for.
Yet while cost is understandably an issue, cost-based thinking is not focused on a solution.
So instead of asking yourself, “I can only afford to spend so much on marketing my business… what can I spend it on?”; shift your thinking to a more financially prudent, “What can I do that will give me the highest return on investment for my budget?”
Is newspaper advertising a preferred medium for communicating about your business? A big-city daily daily newspaper advertisement will probably cost you over ten times what a small-town weekly paper will; and your one-day shelf life for a daily publication will be at least seven times as long in a weekly publication.
Cost versus benefit in my own personal experience is that local, targeted publications are much more valuable that larger ones; but if course, you have to be cognizant of the market you are trying to reach.
Similarly, people are being swept up in the hype of Social Media; but have no idea about how to execute a sound Social Media strategy. Because the tools are free, many business people think that all the associated support ought to be free as well.
A lot of folks don’t want to pay someone to show them how to get maximum yield from a ‘free’ service. I have heard it often… “I’ll just do it myself”. Yet months later they have made no progress at all, and are missing thousands of dollars of potential business to avoid some minimal up-front costs that will make their efforts effective. Instead they are throwing their money at random and disjointed promotional efforts.
Nowadays, even low-quality websites can be had cheap. But does your website act like a valuable employee? Does it engage current and potential clients and begin the sales process? Is it a credible and valuable ambassador for your brand?
If your advertising and communications are not giving you a good ROI (return on investment) it is a waste of time, no matter how little the cost.
Don’t cheap out so much that all you are worried about is cost, because it could damage you in the end. Push down the panic, and stop running around like a headless chicken. It is worth your while to take time enough to ensure your efforts are effective.
Jake Bergen is the Marketing Director at Tractor Beam Marketing (www.thetractorbeam.com), the author of ‘Social Skills: Facebook Basics for Business’ available on Amazon.com, and the founder of Social Media Club Edmonton. © Tractor Beam Marketing Inc.