October 21, 2010
"When there's blood in the streets, buy land"
- Baron Rothschild (paraphrased)
In a recession, as in any time of want, the natural instinct
is to contract... to tighten the belt... to hole up and wait
out the storm. That's where you can zig when the competition
KEEP ON WITH YOUR EXCEPTIONAL SELF
Anyone who's been in business for more than a year knows that,
in general, our competitors don't do their homework like we
do. They don't research suppliers like we do. They don't work
overtime like we do. They don't care about their customers like
we do. They don't strive for overall excellence like we do.
And in hard times, most in the marketplace do exactly the opposite
of what they should... EXPAND.
The old saying, "when there's blood in the streets, buy
land", says it all. We must take advantage of hard times,
in order to prosper in the good times to follow. So often we
forget this, because we don't have an extra $10k to buy more
inventory. We don't have an extra $20k to rent that vacant warehouse.
And we don't have an extra $35k to hire that new account manager.
But who says that expansion requires money?
HANDSHAKES ARE FREE
Believe it or not, there are still a few people out there who
want to make money and are smart enough to forge cooperative
relationships. Now is the time to contact your colleages...
and your competitors! Even call the crazy ones. Everyone's looking
for something. You never know what alliance can be forged in
these tough times. If you've been running your business well,
your colleagues know it. They might not come out and contact
you for assistance in the good times but "there are no
atheists in foxholes" and when under fire, the smart ones
will at least hear you out.
Take stock (I mean actually write it out in Word or on paper)
of what you're doing RIGHT these days. List your organization's
strong points, alliances, supply chains, specialties, etc. What
is it about your outfit that allowed you to survive to this
point in the recession? Then take a long hard look at your competitors'
and colleagues' websites. What are they up to today? What products
and services are they currently offering that you can offer
at a reduced price but better quality? What products and services
DON'T you offer... but for which you know of or can find better
sources? It's one thing to call someone asking for a job or
handout - it's another to start off with "hey, I think
I can save you some money on XYZ."
These relationships, forged under fire, are the kind that last