Don’t you hate being a victim? You know, the person who has things done to them, usually outside of their control.
Most of us in business don’t see ourselves this way. On a general everyday basis, we usually are the opposite of the victim. We are actually running around thinking we are actually in control.
We run our own business. We tell people what to do? We decide when we are going in to work!!
But, our subconscious knows how we really feel.
And our language betrays us.
Raise your hand if you have thought and even said out loud:
“We are having a good year, but…..
……if the economy goes downhill,
……if real estate takes a dive, or the oil and gas industry, or whatever your market engages in,
…….if so and so is elected,
well, then we may take a nose dive.”
We react in ways that weaken us rather than armoring up against the enemy!
“I better not hire anyone, invest in marketing, buy very much inventory, in case one of these things outside of my control does happen.”
Our words give us away. Because if we think that the only way we grow sales, maintain clients or manage expenses is if the economy is strong, than we believe that we are victims.
At least that is a victim mentality.
If you think about it you will realize I am right here. We are all small business owners, which by definition means we have a pretty small sliver of the entire market share of our industry.
If we are just a sliver of the market, then not only do we have opportunity in a booming economy, but we also have opportunity to increase our sliver by winning customers from the competition.
I know this worry of the economy consumes a lot of small business owners sub-conscious mind set. I know because as most businesses are planning for the coming year, it is common to hear, “this is what we can do if the industry stays strong”.
Okay, but what if it doesn’t!
What if we have to pay more taxes?
What if consumer or business spending goes down?
What if your particular industry has a decline?
Then what will you do?
I think we need to armor up!
We need to bring the fear from the dark halls of our subconscious to the light. We have to acknowledge the fear and the thought to fight back. We have to plan to defend ourselves.
I have a few suggestions that might help. I think they are timely because this is the time to be planning for next year.
If there are uncontrollable external monsters that threaten your business, you are not helpless. You have to armor up!
- You need a point of difference. Good economy or bad, distinguishing yourself from your competitors will help you grow. What is your point of difference? What makes your service or your product different from someone else?
- You need a strategy. Most small business owners and their staff go into work each day and do the work that is there for them. Are you going to grow by personal selling or marketing and advertising? Do you have a turn key solution, or the lowest price, or maybe you are a high-end provider because you do have a strong point of difference?
- You need a plan. A plan to go after market share or to reduce expenses. A plan to partner with someone else who can add value to you and help you achieve your goals. Or maybe it is time to diversify and offer your product or service to an industry that is growing. What are the opportunities for your product or service?
- You need to execute. You need to execute consistently. One of the first steps to do this is to communicate your point of difference, your strategy, and your plans to your entire team. Then you need to let them know the part they can and need to play.
- You need to follow-up. With customers. With vendors. With your staff. It is funny how follow-up alone is a unique strategy in business today. Seriously, how often do you NOT get called back from someone you are trying to buy something from. It is amazing. I wrote about follow-up as a key to increasing sales awhile back.
The point is simple. If you just come in each day and respond to the market place, then you are right, the market is in control.
You become a victim.
And maybe others will understand when you have to close down your business due to market conditions. But you now know the truth.
If it happens, you didn’t prepare. You didn’t plan. You didn’t execute.
You let yourself be the victim.
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