Five Secrets to Slow Time Success
“The recession is coming, the recession is coming!”
You’ve heard the cries haven’t you? Well we’ve got news for you…it’s already here. Or at least that’s what the media would have you believe. Whether it is technically true or not is irrelevant. The facts show that it’s still a great time to be in business and to make money—one of the best environments in our history, to be exact.
According to the Consumer Research Center, American households have more discretionary income than ever before, which continues to fuel consumer spending at a steady, if not accelerated pace. In November 2007 retailers posted their biggest gains in six months and both retail and wholesale 2007 revenues were up verses 2006. Even last year’s holiday shopping season was big in both numbers of shoppers and in gains despite what we have been led to believe.
If you listen to the media there are signs of shaky times in some sectors, lead by the housing bubble “burst” and the sub-prime mortgage “meltdown.” Those names weren’t designed to create fear and uncertainty were they? Nahh…couldn’t be.
If you watch the evening news these days it’s easy to believe we’re currently in a recession. In actuality, a recession is defined by two consecutive quarters of declining GDP…and we haven’t experienced the first of the required two quarters yet.
If you look for something hard enough you’ll always find evidence of its existence. You could find signs of an alien landing strip in a corn field, if you check enough places, and you could divine the winner of the 2008 presidential election from some wet tea leaves, if the lighting were just right.
If you go looking for economic trouble, you will always find evidence of it. The point is, profitable sectors ebb and flow and prosperous markets shift, just as matter changes shape but never disappears. It doesn’t mean catastrophic financial disaster is upon us. Does it?
Enter politics and government. Government involvement in business is almost always a bad thing and this situation proves no different. If you study history at all, you will see that economic uncertainty is good for the political process, especially if the party line is calling for “change” and offering a “new hope.”
How much more hope do we need than the most prosperous period in our economic history? But if the country feels a little economic pressure, tastes uncertainty and smells fear that’s good for elections and it just so happens to be an election year.
But who has the power to plant and nurture seeds of uncertainty in the first place? The media.
The truly terrifying part is that the media is so powerful and influential they can actually create—in reality—whatever they dream up and proliferate. Shrouded in foreshadow they influence public opinion and action with factual distortions, skewed figures and fuzzy math until their “predictions” become actual events. In this case, we really may see a recession.
This is just one reason why the rise of new media, such as blogs, is so important—so that all side of the story get air time.
So for those who are feeling a bit of the conjured pressure and need some help weathering the storm, this article will give you five secrets to slow time entrepreneurial success. These secrets will help you not only merely survive in the slow time but thrive, dominate and prosper.
Why are these entrepreneurial secrets? Because most corporate business people probably won’t believe in the raw power of them or have the capacity to implement any of them before the whole “recession” blows over. Slow to see, slow to act.
Slow Time Entrepreneurial Secret #1: Differentiate.
Me too products and services with no distinguishing qualities are forced into the commodity marketplace and bought only based on price…low price. In the slow season these are the first to get cut from the spending budget. If you don’t know how to make yourself stand out from all your competition and all the other alternative choices for your prospects’ diminishing funds then you are destined to shoulder more than your fair share of the economic burden, slumping sales and evaporating customer pool.
How do you overcome this fate? Follow this simple advice…Same Is Lame. Discover what is unique about you, your product or service, your process, your strengths and weaknesses and exploit them to their fullest extent.
People are desperately seeking a place to spend their money and they want to make a good decision when they do spend their money, especially when they have less of it.
They are hungry for a buying preference, a reason why to choose you over every other option out there. Most business owners give them none other than low price and if that’s the only thing that makes you unique, you better be as strong as Wal-Mart or you ain’t gonna make it.
Slow Time Entrepreneurial Secret #2: Innovate.
The first thing a person asks someone they haven’t seen in a while is, “What’s New?” That’s what they want from you too. Just because things are tightening up doesn’t mean you have to or should slow down.
Your business needs to innovate now more than ever. People like new things. New things are interesting, exciting, worth talking about, surprising and fun.
This is what most people are lacking in their lives and it’s further enhanced by a new timidity, uncertainty and tightening of the purse strings.
By innovating you show freshness, confidence and give the community a bit of hope, encouragement and exhilaration. This can do a lot for keeping the numbers on the balance sheet looking up.
Slow Time Entrepreneurial Secret #3: Hit The Gas.
During these uncertain times the first reaction of most business owners, entrepreneurs and sales professionals is to cut back. The cut back happens across the board: marketing, innovation, research and development, expansion, acquisition of key people and resources.
It’s a downward spiral that quickly escalates and spreads like bacteria in a warm Petri dish. It’s a dangerous move and a mistake too commonly made.
The smart move is to hit the gas and do more. Add, initiate, market more heavily, recruit the best people and blast through it with momentum and speed. While other people are cutting back, like turtles pulling their heads into their shells, you can cash in big because the market is wide open.
Slow Time Entrepreneurial Secret #4: Connect.
Now more than ever connecting with your current and past customers on a more than business level will be essential.
Wait a minute.
Isn’t business business and personal personal? You shouldn’t mix business and pleasure right? That’s true, if you want to make less money than you could that is. What you need to know is consumers do business with people, not companies.
Buying is emotional and unless you have a major brand secured by hundreds of millions of dollars in annual marketing you cannot create an emotional connection with your logo or brand. But you can create an emotional connection between you as a person and your customers.
If you had a choice to buy from a company (even a big brand company) verses a person you know, like and trust, which would you choose? From our experience, most people pick the latter.
So now more than ever, you need to embrace this concept of connecting with your customers. Give them more value, be more open with what’s going on in your life, get more personal, share more of who you are and what you believe in, become a more integrated part of their lives, instead of just a merchant they bought from once.
Your goal is to become regarded by your customers as more than just a huckster of some goods or services, and instead to position yourself as a helper to their family. Someone who makes their quality of life better, their decision making process easier and their minds more informed.
Doing this will make your customers more apt to keep you around through any slow season and value your presence in their lives.
Slow Time Entrepreneurial Secret #5: Rally.
Now is the time to ring the bell and rally the troops. Your employees, your past customers, your friends and even your family. Get them fired up and on the same page when it comes to your unique qualities and what you have to offer.
The order of the day is referral stimulation, buzz creation and an increase in transaction value.
How do you accomplish this task?
For starters, you have to know yourself what it is that both makes you unique and resonates with your prospect base and how that translates into an irresistible offer for your potential customers.
Then you need to make sure every employee, past customer, friend and family member knows that uniqueness, can deliver your offer and are encouraged to pass it along.
Create scripts for your troops to use to ask for referrals and offer up sells to customers. Reward the troops who do a good job and also the customers who participate to create and keep momentum.
It’s hard to ignore the awesome power of a passionate group of followers who are willing to go to battle for a leader and cause they really feel connected to.
During crunch time you need to squeeze all the juice out of every tactic you implement. To do this, make sure you test and refine your systems as you go along.
Little changes in how you market, position yourself and operate your business can mean the difference between slow time growth or just treading water.