As We Look at the Business Climate of 2009:
A new generation of entrepreneurs is emerging from the shadows. None of these is well funded but they are focused, relevant, and in step with the public. Some of them will grow to become business icons by mid-2012. (Three and a half years from now I’ll give you a hyperlink back to this column so that you can see how right I was.)
Yes, I know that sounded horribly egotistical.
The air is cold, the sky is clear, these are my trend predictions:
“If it feels good, do it.”
Sales of alcohol, movie tickets and ice cream will increase. This happens during every recession. How might you offer your customer an altered consciousness, an alternative reality, an escape from the merely mundane? Think about it.
Repair Instead of Replace
“Instead of buying a new one, I’ll hold on to the one I’ve got.”
Sellers of new houses, new cars, clothing and jewelry are going to have to get creative. Repair businesses will trend magically upward. Expensive items will find their way to eBay as we liquidate the luxuries we bought in better days. Resale shops will appear in nicer parts of town. How might your business participate in this trend?
“Should I shepherd my resources or push harder than ever?”
Market share is up for grabs because your competitors have slashed their ad budgets. Should you hunker down and try to hang on, or push harder than ever while your competitors hibernate? Some businesses will quit advertising and go broke as a direct result. Other businesses will advertise aggressively and go broke because they lacked financial staying power. Your correct course of action depends on your competitive environment. Do you know how to read your competitive environment or do you need help?
“If the economy stays tough and fewer businesses occupy my category, won’t that leave more for me?” (1.) What was the sales volume of the failed competitor? (2.) How much has your category shrunk? If the competitor’s volume exceeded the shrinkage of your category, you might see some benefit. But if your competitor was a minor player, the shrinkage of your category will erase any good you might have experienced. You’ll get a larger slice, but of a smaller pie.
“I walk to the end of the driveway each morning to retrieve a newspaper telling me things I’ve known for 24 hours.” Very few newspapers are healthy. The New York Times, that standard bearer of journalism, would have collapsed but for last week’s infusion of $250 million by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. With that newspaper’s $1 billion in debt recently reduced to junk-bond status and only $46 million in cash reserves, the Times would have failed in May, 2009. In the past, “columnists” and “reporters” were merely people who had access to a publishing pipeline. But in an Internet-connected world, isn’t every blogger both columnist and reporter? Last week MSNBC.com said, “Got some good photos of the inauguration? Send them to us.” How many more months will pass before newspapers are published digitally and round-the-clock from volunteer reports submitted from around the world?
Websites are Essential
Hillary Clinton and John McCain underestimated the power of the Internet. Barack Obama did not. Now tell the truth, don’t be embarrassed: Was your website designed by an acquaintance who “is really good with computers?” Someone who “knows all about the internet?” Then why isn’t it doing more for you? This is the year to get serious about your website. Your webmaster is learning by trial and error. You should buy him or her some expert guidance.
You’re About to Read an Ad:
Call to Action, a book about the internet published by Wizard Academy Press, became a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller in 2005. It was the first book ever to reach bestseller status without brick-and-mortar distribution. Call to Action by Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg is a landmark in the publishing hall of fame. Its sequel, Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? hit all four bestseller lists, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and BusinessWeek.
The world’s most successful online companies pay the Eisenberg brothers lavishly for their advice. Their consulting company, Future Now, is currently traded on NASDAQ.
And they were students at Wizard Academy long before they became famous.
Would you like Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg to:
1. monitor your website 24/7
2. analyze the actions of all your online visitors, and then
3. suggest specific changes you should make to your website?
This new service from Future Now is available for as little as $1,000/mo. Detailed feedback with specific recommendations for you to implement. Tested, proven, productive. No more trial-and-error.
Roy H. Williams
Writing for Radio and the Internet, Feb 3-4
The BIG ONE. 5 days. Feb 23-27