How to Make Business Good
When Times are Bad
Archetypal Patterns, Part 3
Here's the Pattern: When times are tough and customers are scarce, business owners buckle down and try to become even better at the things they do well. They do this because they trust the Guide pattern, “This has always worked in the past.”
Perhaps you're doing the same.
But following the Guide pattern in a declining market won’t take you where want to go, since staying who you are won’t expand your customer base.
To grow your sales volume you must increase your market share. You must attract those customers who, in the past, have chosen not to do business with you. But those customers won’t make a new decision about your business until you give them new information. As long as you keep doing what you’ve always done (and saying what you've always said,) they’ll keep making the decision they’ve always made.
They’ll keep buying somewhere else.
To grow, you must expand your identity. Add to your message. Appeal to additional customers.
The Challenge pattern of new circumstances demands that you choose a new Guide pattern.
Leaders usually cling to old Guide patterns in times of stress. This is why challengers often overtake leaders during times of upheaval. The leaders were reluctant to reinvent themselves.
For more than a quarter century I’ve made my living dethroning market leaders and setting my clients in their places. And in all those years I’ve never seen a category leader do anything but what they do best. This predictability makes them easy to defeat.
The successful challenger is always willing to adopt a new guide pattern and stretch beyond the comfort zone.
A few weeks ago I wrote, “If you dominate your business category and you’re struggling to stay on top, my experience tells me you probably don’t have the courage to make the necessary changes that would allow you to move to the next level. So you might be wasting a plane ticket to Austin.”
Now you know why I wrote it.
If You Feel It's Time to Reinvent Your Business:
Step 1: Do exactly what you fear a competitor might do. Be your own competition.
Step 2: Evaluate your advertising. If your messages have been transactional (full of facts and details) build a relational offering for your customer. If your messages have been relational (service and commitment based) create a transactional package.
Step 3: Ignore those well-meaning friends who will accuse you of having lost your focus.
Step 4: Release unhappy team members to go where they can be happy or they'll torpedo your plan with half-hearted implementation.
Step 5: Advertise aggressively. “Aggressive” doesn’t require a big budget. It requires a big message. In the words of Robert Stephens, “Advertising is a tax you pay for being unremarkable.”
The more unremarkable your message, the more ad money you have to spend. Embrace a remarkable message and you'll be surprised how little money is required to spread the word.
If you need some help crafting a remarkable message, come to Austin.
We're good at it.
Roy H. Williams
PS – Twelve bucks lets you honor a person's birthday or anniversary
by proclaiming it to the world. You up for it?