Wait Not; Want Not: Why this is the best time to innovate.

“IN THIS ECONOMY?” How many times have you heard that phrase in the past three years? Today’s turbulent business environment reminds me of a nervous airline pilot being told he has to circle for the fourth time. He knows he’s getting dangerously low on fuel and has to make a decision soon. He can’t keep circling. He has to land. But where, and when?

As large and small businesses tighten their belts, lay off staff, or find ways to work smarter and leaner, some are not only surviving but thriving because of it. They’re now ready to land. In other words, they’re ready to reach new customers and grow. For some, circling the landscape has proven worthwhile. They see things differently, and that’s a good thing. The ones who think they can circle indefinitely, however, will soon find themselves out of fuel and in real trouble.

Now is the time to get creative and take calculated risks that will help you succeed. But how?

  1. Seize the day. Take advantage of any restructuring changes you might have made. Let the remaining employees work on new and different projects. Let them help with problem solving. Consider everything that worked in the past, but give it an inexpensive new face and design to attract a new market.
  2. Sell yourself now. The first place businesses typically cut in down times is advertising. Bad move. Like the pilot shouting orders to the tower, you need to let people know you are in business and you mean business. While every one of your competitors is up there circling, who do you think people will notice if you’re the only plane coming in for a landing? All eyes will be on you – exactly the kind of advertising you need.
  3. Divide and conquer. Fewer staff means having tighter focus. You need to hone in on the runway. You need a concise and deliberate marketing strategy. Start by dividing your customer list into smaller sublists so you can zero in on specific needs they might have. This will allow you to better assess whether you’re meeting those needs. This helps you avoid wasting time, money and energy talking to the wrong people.

Don’t wait. Customers and prospects are being ignored by your competition. They’re waiting for someone to break out and take the lead. Be that leader. After all, landing a plane in rough weather is a lot easier than landing a plane with no fuel. Inaction is often the most costly action.

Written by: Daniel Gore

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