Keep Marketing and Selling!
With a slowing economy, I find I’m putting out fires rather than building my business. I’ll put a plan in place, but inevitably problems arise that require most of my resources and energy. Are there any practical solutions? Although the solution is difficult to see when you are in the middle of the crisis, the advice provided in Jim Collins book “Good to Great” is simple. Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems. This business tactic has proven successful repeatedly. Every business goes through difficult periods - whether it is due to external pressures like the economy or internal problems. Your dilemma is universal - if that makes you feel any better. When I was working full time in the corporate world, upper management - without exception – would cut marketing and sales budgets first when trouble was looming on the horizon. Marketing and sales are typically what build a business. Unfortunately, this kind of decision breaks the momentum of growth which takes a long time to re-build once (or if) times turn around. First, if your building plan involves a major capital investment, break it down into smaller chunks for implementation. A little progress is better than none when it comes to building a business. All efforts for consistent growth will reap rewards over the long term. Second, take a close look at your employees and categorize the skill sets. For example: • Administration • Sales • Marketing • Customer Service In most businesses, the sales people are the ones who keep business coming through the door. Ask yourself: • Are they representing my business accurately? • Do they know my product and believe in it? • Do I have mediocrity in the ranks? • Who are the stars that produce consistently regardless of internal conflicts? Third, eliminate mediocrity, keep the stars and support them wherever possible with the skill sets available throughout the remaining organization. In reality, administration, marketing and customer service should be the support team behind sales. If they don’t operate that way, it will be difficult to build the business consistently even during an economic upswing. In conclusion, build your business daily using your best people and make problem solving an issue for those who do not directly contribute to growth.