September 11th… the world as we knew it, changed forever.
Twelve years ago, Americans experienced the most horrific terrorist attacks ever on our soil in New York City.
Since then we have lost more Americans in overseas combat and experienced too many senseless acts inflicted by Americans on fellow Americans. Times have really changed.
Patriot Day is a good name for this day. It reminds me what the forefathers fought for and the perseverance they had throughout the years past to help build a strong America. And it offers a lesson or two for small business in the years ahead.
A strength of a great business leader is acknowledging change.
I didn’t know it at the time, but the changes in small business advertising and direct marketing, started a downward trend after 9-11. Even the largest advertising companies became a mere shell of their past in just a few years. All of these changes necessitated a major shift in my business.
Change is forever with us. Some people embrace change, others deny the existence of change. Prior to September 11 of 2001, no one thought something like that could ever happen, but it did.
But how do you prepare for the unknown?
Change can be an advantage for all of us in small business. Change can teach us to do things better, so don’t ignore change.
Most know the story of Henry Ford and his small business. But most people don’t know his first two attempts at starting a business manufacturing automobiles left him broke. More people remember him for the invention of the assembly line. So learn how to experience the bad along with the good. More people will remember the good.
Walt Disney was fired by an editor because he thought that Walt lacked imagination and his next idea would be his first. So Walt Disney started an animation company and it went bankrupt. When he sought financing for Disneyland he was turned down hundreds of times. Talk about perseverance. Prove to people they are wrong by doing.
Mr. Akita Morita was a co-founder of a company called Sony. Their first product was a rice cooker that cooked the rice well – well done as in burnt. There was certainly no crying over the burnt rice considering how large Sony is today. If at first you don’t succeed – it may take a little tweak to get it right.
As the above proves to us change can be bad but change can also be good. Every small business must be prepared for change – good or bad. Stay abreast with your industry leaders, read business publications and stay in touch with your local chamber of commerce.
When the winds of change begin to stir, be prepared. Look for it. Test new ideas with your best customers. Ask customers what they want from you in the near term. Is the competition trying something new?
Sometimes the smallest change gets you the largest result. Please share – it’s greatly appreciated.
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Everything marketing starts and ends with your customers… cater to them, listen to them and react to them. The results will amaze you.
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