Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Why hope is a business strategy.
|Hope. It applies to more than this year’s presidential election. Hope also applies to how we in Orange County manage our businesses and lives during these uncertain times.
There is a lot to be fearful about right now, from the state of our anorexic 401k retirement funds to the job losses fueling foreclosures. Political, social and economic forces are at work beyond our control that, well, control our fortunes and futures.
As I sit down to write this post, I am still reflecting on e-mails I exchanged today with a client based in India.
“We’re concerned about the American economy right now,” my client wrote to me in an e-mail. “The customers we want to market to are delaying their spending. Maybe we should postpone any marketing campaigns for a few months. What do you think?”
During times like these, advice on how to make your business and household recession-resilient is readily available. A lot of it merely reiterates trite phrases. (“Cash is king.”) Some of it warrants further consideration or action. (“Cuts are a must.”) Most of it only serves to further speculation based on fear and indecision. (“Spend every dollar as if it were your last.”)
So, I am advising our clients – and leading my company – on the economics of hope. Nope, playing ostrich doesn’t serve anyone. We can’t wish ourselves out of this precarious situation. However, making the tough calls that every small business across America must make every day without losing faith in the American dream serves everyone. This is a brilliant time for companies that have the will to succeed. It’s the time to cut fat but not to cut marketing. It’s time to form alliances with other business owners and professionals who can serve as extensions of your sales force. It’s the time to network, network, network. (Women business owners: sign up for the next NAWBO-OC meeting. A year from now, those connections will be golden to you.) As with every other economic downdraft, the companies left standing will be the ones that charge forward when a bear market returns.