Every year we see businesses that fail and others that thrive. In recent years we’ve seen some pretty big businesses go under and others that needed significant Government propping up just to stay afloat. Of course the pundits will tell you that this is all down to the recession however they are not only guilty of spreading misleading information they are also guilty of encouraging more businesses to fail.
Quite simply they are encouraging businesses into a helpless state of mind. They are making it fine for businesses to give up and blame the recession. Soon the de facto excuse of many struggling business will be “what can we do, it’s the recession!”.
The reason this works is it’s far easier for people to stick their heads in the sand and ignore the real reasons than it is to just admit they really do have some control.
Here’s the reality. Most businesses fail because they don’t embrace change. For the very big businesses they usually fail because they are simply too big to change and they just run out of steam. For most of us though it’s simply fear.
Let me give you an example that you can watch enfold yourself. You will see some very big companies fail this year because of the example I am about to share with you.
A recent BBC news article covered the fact that digital sales had broken the 1 billion barrier here in the UK. Amazingly over one billion was spent on films, music, games downloads in 2012. That’s effectively nearly a quarter on the UK entertainment market that is now being served online.
Conversely, the high street sales of the same items fell by nearly 20%.
I guarantee that certain large high street retailers will ignore this or will be unable to react to it. We will see some big names crumble and disappear. Very few of them will move their business online or at least use online effectively to support and enhance their high street presence.
Without too much thought I came up with an idea that would work. If these high street shops offered through their online stores (assuming they have one otherwise they really are doomed) a voucher that you received with every online download. That voucher could only be used in the high street shops. Maybe it could be for a free offer and try to up sell people when they come in to the store. Maybe a massive discount or a buy one get one free offer. Alternatively you could switch it round. You could give out vouchers in store to use online and advertise that fact online to drive people into your stores.
I literally came up with those ideas as I typed so I’m sure better ideas exist (why not post your own in the comments below and lets see how creative we can all get!).
The sad thing is that I can sadly guarantee that those high street stores that will not or cannot be creative will see their sales in store fall dramatically over this year. Most of them will probably just try cutting prices which is a dangerous spiral to get into.
So how does this effect you?
One of the biggest investments you can make in your business is in marketing and these days that definitely includes online marketing.
Too many businesses think that placing adverts in yellow pages or their local papers is enough. Those that claim to be doing online marketing are actually just spending hours of distraction chatting on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
You need to become a student of marketing. Real marketing and not the shiny new toy syndrome of marketing.
Let me be blunt. If you are not investing time in your marketing then you are not a business owner. You are NOT running a business. You are merely an employee in your own business and worse no one is really running that business. You might as well rename your business to the Titanic.
Harsh? Maybe. True? Definitely.
What can you do?
If you have not read any on the following three books then that’s something you need to fix quickly!
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing – Al Ries and Jack Trout
The EMyth Revisited – Michael Gerber
Scientific Advertising – Claude Hopkins
It also goes without saying that you should also be in my Fast Forward Members club
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