I am here to sound a mild alarm.
But a significant one nonetheless. Think back with me for a minute.
The year that was, 2004, was a darned good year. Contrary to pre-election media hype, the economy was very resilient, strong and vibrant all year long. Inspite of war, skyrocketing deficits, the aforementioned media conspiracy to sell the public on how bad things were, the stock market held above 10,000, interest rates stayed low, the housing boom flourished, consumers spent like drunken sailors.
A whole lot of businesspeople did very, very, very well without working all that hard or being very innovative or resourceful. I don’t begrudge anybody such easy prosperity. I’ve benefited from it too, and welcome it. But I am also willing to look the gift horse in the mouth – and I see cavities.
You may have been thinking — Maybe it could all continue unabated. Maybe top real estate values could multiply again. Maybe people would keep buying, buying, buying. Heck, maybe it could get even easier to make tons of money.
But maybe it won’t. And I saw a lot of businesspeople taking it all for granted, assuming what had been will be. Under-investing in taking care of their herds. What the politicos call: solidifying the base. I received less mail from the business I patronize than I can ever remember.
During the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, I received fewer acknowledgements from the businesses I patronize than I can ever remember receiving. I was being neglected and taken for granted. Mistake. Under-investing in new customer acquisition.
Many say: we’re so busy we don’t need to market and promote. But start ‘n stop marketing, marketing that chases need rather than anticipates need is a big mistake. Taking excess profits without reinvesting in the business also a mistake. Lazily relying on a single media or single means of marketing or single product or service.
Hazards abound in this behavior.