What to expect in 2009Author: Roy H. Williams
Ready to Play Leapfrog?The coming year will be fun, adventure-filled and profitable for people who have their wits about them.
A number of small business owners are positioning themselves to overtake their much larger rivals.
Will one of these companies be yours?
Not many years ago, General Motors and Circuit
City were the dominant players in their categories. Today they’re both
on their knees, having made the same mistakes:
1. They took their fingers off the pulse of the customer.
When you believe your marketing pipeline will allow you to dictate what
the customer will buy, you’re in danger of being leapfrogged. In 1960,
General Motors sold nearly 60 percent of all new cars. Today, even
though Chevrolet maintains 4,200 dealerships, Toyota sells more cars than all 5 GM brands combined through just 1,400 locations. LESSON: Having the right product is more important than heritage and convenience.
2. They quit taking risks.
When companies achieve success, they usually quit innovating and become
guardians of the status quo. But yesterday’s perfect processes are
obsolete tomorrow. Vinyl records were replaced by 8-track tapes.
8-tracks were replaced by cassettes. Cassettes were replaced by CDs.
And now CD’s are being replaced by MP3 players. The same is happening
with business practices. LESSON: Success, like failure, is a temporary condition. Never assume you've arrived.
The leaders are going into hunker-down mode. They’re cutting back their advertising, assuming that everyone else will cut back as well.
When a leapfrogger sees a leader’s brake lights,
he hits the accelerator. Are you beginning to see what I meant when I
said, “fun, adventure-filled and profitable?”
Here are the trends to watch in 2009:
1. Frivolous purchases are being delayed.
We’re wearing our clothes longer and keeping the cars we’ve got. We'll
buy what we need, but only after asking whether we really need it.
2. We're buying fewer things, but better things.
More attention is being paid to quality. Only the poorest are choosing
by price alone. Information is king. Details are power. This is good
news for makers of better products.
3. “Sustainable” is a concept that will grow in power for at least 10 years.
The lifestyle of the 80's and 90's was "upwardly mobile" and its
leaders were marked by "conspicuous consumption." But the chosen
lifestyle of the next generation will be "sustainable," meaning that
we'll strive to live within our means and embrace practices that are