Categorized | Business


The Idea of the Month Club

By Tom Irmen

Small businesses that have successfully navigated one of our nation’s worst economic downturns in modern times are busy formulating new marketing strategies that will hopefully help them to navigate the headwinds of uncertainty fueled by conflicting economic data, high unemployment, a leadership vacuum in Washington and a housing market that may require a decade or longer to overcome falling home values, foreclosures and excess inventory.

Today’s small businesses appear to be implementing one of three current strategies in moving forward. I’ve identified them as:
• Staying the course
• The idea of the month club
• Observe, adapt and conquer

“Staying the course” accepts the premise that if your existing strategy was sufficient to guide you through these most turbulent of economic times, it can be depended upon to continue to serve you well into the future.

“The idea of the month club” represents that small group of entrepreneurs that, while receptive to change, implement new strategies at the drop of a hat with very little consideration as to their likely short- and long-term impact.

The last strategy, observe, adapt and conquer, involves observing marketplace changes and future direction, and adapting to these changing conditions, thus creating distinct competitive advantages.

It can be difficult to argue with the philosophy that “if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it,” but that same philosophy ignores significant marketplace changes that can be both harmful and potentially advantageous to a company. Oftentimes small business owners, fearing change, will avoid it at any cost. Ignoring change, merely to remain in your comfort zone, can have catastrophic consequences for your small business.

Conversely, there exists an altogether group of entrepreneurs that initiate changes in strategies without the thoughtful consideration that should accompany any such change. These changes can be disruptive to employees and customers alike, depriving your small business of the cohesive message you should be striving for.

Far and away, the best strategy for both short- and long-term success is that strategy that carefully analyzes prior and existing marketplace conditions, changes in consumer behavior and anticipated future marketplace and consumer responses to these changes. Small businesses that carefully access past, present and future marketplace and consumer behavioral changes and adapt their marketing strategies to take full advantage of the opportunities they represent will benefit from increased market share and enhanced competitive marketplace position.

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