Numbers in B&Q, Woodies DIY and all the other DIY clones seem to be up these days. People are doing the “bits” they would previously have gotten someone else to do. But see, the bits are still being done.
How many are doing window cleaning, washing the car or getting the kids to do so (reinvesting in the family economy), spending more nights in with cheaper booze, getting more food in Aldi and Lidl, letting each other know where the bargains are, investing in bulk buys for longterm savings, switching off more lights etc. etc. Life is still going on but it’s being done in a more efficient, smarter way. Though maybe kludgier when Dad fixes things when he’s not used to doing it in years.
Photo owned by Duane_Brown (cc)
And businesses? I met someone last week that was upskilling himself on sales, marketing and PR. To paraphrase what he said “I never had to do sales, the phone would just ring and I’d answer it.” Not so in 2009. I wonder how many companies are in that situation? Business was booming and business can still boom if a bit of thinking happens. Some see the future and are adapting.
A client and what they wanted in 2009 is going to be shockingly different to 2008 and 2007. Last year they might have paid a fortune for your services and this year it might suddenly be seen as unnecessary but going back to the core, the business still needs to do all their bits. I think it is wrong to concentrate on a dwindling market for these clients, offering what you’ve been offering all along but at a cheaper price while you slug it out with competitors. Towards the end of a very short life Bruce Lee was in a lot of constant pain from all the fights and stunts onscreen and offscreen. He used to get challenged on the street on a daily basis and fight all comers. Fight only the necessary fights. You might win but you’ll still get hurt.
The IP you offer will need to change. For me a lot of companies want to do those bits themselves when previously they got a company to do it, or they never did, like the guy above, the phone just rang. Now even the smallest of companies want to do PR, Online Marketing and public events, before they might not have needed to do this. So I’m doing a lot of teaching companies how to fish and it’s very enjoyable and rewarding when you see understanding and revelation in the faces of these people.
Photo owned by Banalities (cc)
Lou Dobbs used to host the Business Unusual show on CNN. Business Unusual is usual business in 2009, if you changed your offerings to your customers to fit the new and what we might at first see as unusual needs, then you have a new market, a new way of generating revenue from existing clients and you are seeing as trying to help, not just extract money. Big changes are happening in 2009, you can’t fight the tide, you can’t fight this.
Time to find out what the bits your clients or previous clients still need to do and what new things they need to do and be the B&Q for them and the advisor on how to do them.
“Business Unusual is usual business in 2009.” Great article, it makes a lot of sense.
I think any SME that has the time to do their own PR properly is probably in trouble to be quite honest. All facets of PR are very time intensive and while some agencies might have milked business for all it was worth back in the day, good agencies earn every penny they get.
Training in PR is great because it takes away the mystery of it for businesses and helps them choose the right agency and not a gang of chancers once they know what’s involved.
I was wondering why those DIY places were so busy. I heard an alternative explanation recently though. Somebody suggested that the builders owe the trade suppliers so much money they can’t get any credit there, so they’re buying their materials at retail stores instead.
It’s nice to hear some interesting commentary and practical advice on how to tackle (and possibly prosper in) the changing circumstances.
I for one have had it up to my tonsils with the media hysteria and recession obsession.
Smart, nimble web savvy business will emerge from this cycle in a stronger position than they entered it..