Categorized | Business


Your Future is Sitting in Your Chair

By Tom Irmen

I changed my mind, and a meeting with a group of forward thinking small business owners is responsible. Originally I had planned on writing my monthly entrepreneur article after the election. Instead, I’m writing it before the election.

The objective of our meeting was to assess how the economic conditions over the past five or so years have impacted consumers and our individual marketplaces. It was also our goal to collectively determine how we might successfully navigate our businesses going forward, mindful of all the uncertainty which exists today, and the likelihood of slow future economic growth.

Like so many others, I am guilty of getting caught up in the emotional tug-of-war from this year’s election cycle, believing that one candidate or another has the secret sauce that represents the perfect solution to our nation’s numerous woes.

When we began our meeting, we touched briefly on the upcoming election, implying that its outcome might be harbinger of future economic opportunity or Armageddon for our businesses. Then the light went on.

Each of us acknowledged that our individual businesses have not only survived the past, and some might say ongoing, recession, but have also prospered during a time in which many of our competitors have been forced to go out of business. Our individual success stories were not the result of government intervention into the private sector, which primarily targeted big banks and the automotive sector, and our successes did not result from big increases in consumer spending either.

Upon careful analysis, these four businesses prospered largely from carving larger slices out of their existing competitive pie. While some marketplaces may have grown modestly and others contracted, the fact remains that the double-digit growth exhibited by each of these four small businesses was largely not the result of an improving economic climate. Two percent growth in GDP just couldn’t support the success that these companies have experienced.

But a word of caution. These last five years were not necessarily a cakewalk for these small businesses. There were setbacks.

But for this group of small business entrepreneurs, the decision to refine their individual marketing strategies to reflect changes in marketplace consumer behavior helped each of these business owners to capitalize on both meager economic growth and increases in their “slice” of the competitive pie in each of their respective marketplaces.

Regardless of which administration occupies the White House in 2013, the future will belong to the small business that keeps its fingers on the pulse of the consumer and adapts to marketplace changes that are guaranteed to occur. Small business owners who ignore these marketplace changes and hope instead that their former marketing strategies will result in future successes are in for a shock as their forward thinking competitors continue to chip away at their market shares.

Your future is sitting in your chair. It’s your call.

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