Think back to one of your favorite western movies. It probably included at least one scene that went something like this. The settlers make friends with the local Indians. The local Indians teach the settlers about the land, how to find food and create shelter. Everyone is a great neighbor, coming over for cook-outs and games of pin the tail on the coyote. Then one day the settlers stop by and the Indians are gone. Pulled up stakes. Not a trace. What happened?
Probably the Indians moved on and survived, and the settlers got wiped out by hunger and nature. It’s that kind of movie.
Well, the same thing is happening to many of you right now. You’re like the settlers. You’ve “settled” in one place with your business, grooved on what you do, who you do it for and how you do it. Yet the world has changed–your clients, your market and toss the economy in there, too. Everything’s changed…but you. Not good.
Now let’s take a look at the Indians. They survived. Frankly, they thrived because they moved, and they moved because the buffalo moved. Their source of sustenance went somewhere else and they followed.
And that’s exactly what you need to do right now. Move. Follow your buffalo because they aren’t where they used to be. Follow your sustenance.
Time to Reinvent
You need to move, change, reinvent yourself more than a little.
But it’s hard to think of yourself in new ways. We know too much and over-think everything. So let me give you a guide to shake off your routine and re-groove your groove.
For every action there is an equal reaction:
For everything that goes down, something else is going up. What’s going up in your market? Let me give you some examples:
Run to the opposite side of your market. I’m betting there’s a hot spot waiting for you there.
Don’t even think of taking that from me:
There are certain products and services that you can’t even pry away from people no matter what the economy. Do a little research and you’ll find exactly what categories are growing. Here are a few and what you might be able to do with them:
Ask your clients:
Here’s a novel idea. Ask your clients what they need right now. They might say “nothing.” That’s the natural reaction. But they do need something. They are buying something. You need to find out what that is and do it for them. Ask open-ended questions. Follow that question with one that takes them one step deeper. Do it again with that answer. Experience tells me that it takes at least three drill-downs to get to the real answer. Then go do it for them.
Get a fresh set of eyes:
If all else fails, call in an expert, someone whose job is to help you see yourself as others see you. A marketing specialist is the best candidate for this assignment. We’re skilled in finding the secret sauce that only you deliver to clients. When we find the core of your essence, we can apply it in new ways in markets that have demand.
Open your eyes:
There’s a certain kind of person who’s ready for this seismic change that the fast-changing technology and economy have created in all things marketing. It’s the people who see themselves as winners and create companies that are the best in the world. Not best-in-the-world as in Coca Coke-dominates-everything kind of way, but in an I’m-your-dry-cleaner-and-I-remembered-your-name-and-got-your-order-just-right-when-you-came-in kind of way.
That’s the kind of great thing I’m talking about.
Go forth and do great things,
Martha Hanlon and Chris Williams