Call us on 1300 794 893

Your Money

David vs. Goliath

The entrepreneurial stories that grab most would-be entrepreneurs the most are the David and Goliath ones, where a little guy takes on the big boys and wins — Branson-style and John Symond-style.

This year these tales of persistence and positiveness leading to success will have a lot more relevance to business builders with some commentators tipping we are heading for recession.

For those who have missed it, there are economists and major policy bodies that still believe Australia can avoid a recession. The Reserve Bank, federal Treasury and a number of financial institution economists still have numbers that tell them we could sidestep a recession.

Some messengers believe they should be freed from being shot when carrying bad news — it’s called the facts defence. However, when the messenger ventures into commentary and scares the pants of positive people — business owners, consumers and investors — then it would be great if objectivity was given a real good run.

A few weeks ago I spoke at a CEO Institute luncheon and I asked the chief executive about the mood of the audience. His response did not surprise me. It was: “Optimistic.”

While some might argue that being realistic might be better, anyone who owns a business knows it is hard to shoulder the challenges of employing, marketing, leading and paying tax when you are continually hearing and seeing the R-word.

Richard Branson has a philosophy of expanding during a recession but he is an outside of the square kind of guy. Matt Gilmour who started OzForex, which we spotlight in this issue of Entrepreneur, went full bore with his online business amidst the rubble of the tech wreck in 2002.

John Symond threw off the bad memories of nearly going bankrupt and virtually losing the lot ahead of kicking off Aussie Home Loans, while the country struggled with the recession of the 1990s.

While 2009 is not the year to lose your head in self-belief, it is still not the time to put your dream on hold. The smart business operators actually ramp up their marketing efforts while becoming totally focused on trimming wasteful costs that got out of hand during the boom.

This is the time to create a marketing plan around effective yet cheap forms of business promotion.

Direct mail is a cheap form of marketing but if done well it can really hit the mark. To make this form of marketing work, research is critical.

Advertising man Jack Singleton says he once did a direct ad campaign backed up with such great research that they had a 35 per cent response. That’s incredible but that’s what you need to do this year in business — you need to be outstanding.

Business speaker Martin Grunstein believes in doing the obvious little things well. Does your marketing instantly tell customers why they should buy from you?

Hungry Jacks always tell me “the burgers are better at Hungry Jacks”. Does your marketing give out such effective reasons for buying from you?

Is your team totally engaged with your vision and your strategy for making this happen? If not, why not?

The answer often is that during easier times sales come through the door and better business practices run second to simply collecting the money.

This year could be the time to re-evaluate your business technology. A blackberry or iPhone might look like an expense you want to avoid in a tough year, but it could be false economy if you miss out on business because you operate in the technology slow lane.

When the going gets tough, the smart think laterally and recognise that some outlays aren’t just a cost but are more an investment in future profits and success.

Published on: Saturday, February 28, 2009

blog comments powered by Disqus
Pixel_admin_thumb_300x300 Pixel_admin_thumb_300x300 Pixel_admin_thumb_300x300