Are you using the “recession” as an excuse ?
It’s hard to pick up a paper, a magazine or even log onto the internet without hearing someone bleating about the so- called “recession“. Technically, it’s not a recession until we’ve had 2 consecutive quarters of negative growth. Since 2009 GDP is estimated to have grown at least 4%, what we’re in is an economic slow down.
However, there is no doubt that consumer behavior is changing – radically! People aren’t spending for the sake of spending anymore – and that has some companies scrambling. Businesses that never had to think once about customer service are now feeling the consequences of that lack of vision. Businesses that don’t know who they are – or more importantly what value they create for consumers – are the ones who are in the cross hairs of this change in consumer behavior.
Over at Fast Company, they’re talking about how restaurants are struggling. If you’re a restaurant owner whose business is struggling – I can see where it would be easy to snuggle into reports like these and comfort yourself with thoughts of “everyone is struggling right now… it’s the economy.”
DON’T FALL FOR IT!!! Notice the figures in the article above… a 2% decline. That means if you served 100 meals last year, you served 98 this year. If you’re looking at a drop larger than that – then it’s not the economy – it’s your business!!!
Have you quit advertising because of the recession? Some companies are actually advertising MORE… and they’re finding that business is good!
I encourage you not to use the economy as an “excuse” for what is going on in your business.
If you look hard, even the bleakest reports still contain a bit of sunshine – that some companies are still doing well despite the change in economic conditions.
Over at the Harvard Business Blogs, there’s a post on What McDonald’s Can Teach Us About Recovery. Mats Lederhausen writes:
The job of chief strategist in times of rediscovery is closer to “corporate psychiatrist/philosopher” than traditional strategist. Your tools are less about spreadsheets and data and more about introspection and deep discovery. If you once were successful, chances are that somewhere in the past lie the building blocks of your future. Your job is to find whatever it was that connected you to your audience in the past and then to adjust it to be more relevant in today’s marketplace — without losing its essential connectivity.
CONNECTIVITY… that’s Harvard Business speak for “knowing who your customers are…and what they want.”
Lederhausen develops this thought on connectivity later in the post:
Start by asking yourself what business you are in and whether customers still have a need for it. If they do, commit to it — fully. At McDonald’s, we knew that people still “deserved a break today” and we were willing to let go of all other initiatives (many of them very exciting) in order to demonstrate unwavering commitment to the core business.
What is the core of your business?
What business are you in?
What value do you bring to your customers?
I work with many small businesses who report that business is booming for them. These business owners can easily answer the question, “What value do you bring to your consumers?”
Before you turn your attentions outward – and start wallowing in the reports of the dire economy – take a good hard look at the business you’re in.
Who are your customers? What are their Goals, Desires, and Problems?
I beg of you – don’t use the so called “recession” as an excuse. Let your competitors take that path!