A recent poll of small business owners reported that 80% of small business owners are confident that they will weather the current economic storm and 64% expect their small businesses to grow (I agree with both groups). This does not surprise me in the least. That's what entrepreneurs do-in good times and in bad. No matter who is declared the winner in the presidential election this week, small business owners are not deterred. We will keep things moving forward.
In a similar, although more worrisome, response, 67% of respondents to that poll responded that they weren't sure how to get clients or customers in this economic climate. And 60% indicated they intended to cut costs. However, the poll reports that for the second month in a row the Small Business Optimism Index actually went up, "indicating that small business owners are feeling more optimistic."
Seth Godin has a great blog post, and I had to hold back a huge grin as I read it. Entrepreneurs are not easily swayed by bad financial news, and actually, I think, the worse conditions get, the more impassioned we become. Godin writes, "Wealth is not created by financial manipulation, the trading of equities or the financing of banks. They just enable it. Wealth is created by productivity. Productive communities generate more of value. Productivity comes from innovation. Innovation comes from investment and change [emphasis mine]."
So, how do you implement investment and change into your company's mode of operation? A few ideas include:
- Keep your brand fresh.
- Sell by social networking.
- Motivate your sales team.
- Put your customers to work for you.
- Use a proactive attitude to get out of a sales slump.
Will these tips work in this economy? Why not? Sure, there are issues affecting all of us, but why not "do as Seth advises" no matter what issues your company is facing? Why not work to increase productivity? I don't mean just do more for the sake of doing more, but put your passion into every customer service call and pay attention to the details. Make your customers happy and show it through your innovation and ability to flex when necessary. Put forward ambitious plans to your team. Help them to become passionate about sales and marketing in these harder economic times. As a CEO, your passion and productivity will go a long way toward inspiring others to follow your lead. Get a hold of Seth Godin's new book, Tribes, and read and use it. People waiting for someone to lead and why can't it be you? Why not you? What are you waiting for?