You are no longer in the business that you thought you were in as the entire playing field and all its rules have changed. Quit thinking you are in whatever you call your business, because now for the first time in the past 10 years the business you are in is not responding to the actions that worked just last year. You and your team have to go back to the basics of creating your business, not just doing business.
It is critical that you sit down with your team and shift attention from what you thought your business was to the business of: generating opportunities rather than just advertising them; selling your products and services rather than just showing them; and driving revenue to make the company solvent. Pick your business and immediately understand you are no longer in that business. You folks in real estate -- wake up -- you aren't realtors anymore, now you have to sell. You people in the car business -- you are no longer in the car business, but now have to truly sell your products and services like never before. If you were doing home construction, that is over and now you have to learn how to create opportunities and close people on parting with their precious money.
I know some of you would disagree and may think this to be an overstatement, and I welcome your comments, but what I am saying is that business as you have come to know it is OVER. The ways in which most of you conducted business over the last years will not serve you in years going forward. Unless you are Google, Amazon or Wal-Mart you will have to restructure your model, refocus your energies, and retrain your people!
You cannot advertise your way out of this. You cannot "location" or "store-front" your way out of this. You cannot scream "customer service" because the reality is customer service will not solve your cash needs this month. You will not be able to "lower price" your way out of this situation because with the loss in volume you can no longer give your products away; the loss of volumes will not allow you to do so. (See my article, the "Price/Volume Formula").
Most businesses and even entire industries have depended on advertising as a way to drive traffic to their products and services. This will no longer generate an acceptable ROI as your advertising falls on deaf ears. When you have the media screaming for thirty minutes, 'the sky is falling' and then your sixty-second spot says "come see us -great deals" - "0% interest" or "No Payments", followed by another thirty minutes of doom and gloom, your message has as much chance of reaching a customer as you do throwing a pebble in the Pacific Ocean to create a tidal wave.
All the other shortcuts used in the past such as; improving your storefront, sales, gimmicks, free toasters, warranty protection, free trips and the such will all fail you. Even the sacred Customer Satisfaction scores and awards will not see you through this contraction. As important as customer satisfaction is to the long-term reputation of your business, the argument can be made that customer satisfaction does not necessarily equate to solvency.
The creation of opportunities and the driving of revenue by the old fashioned method of people meeting people, people truly 'selling' your products and services and then closing transactions at prices high enough and volumes great enough, is the only thing that will make your company solvent going forward. There are no shortcuts in this environment. It is no longer business as usual but business unusual. It is not 'back to basics' but back to way before basics, whereby everyone, and I mean everyone employed at the company regardless of their position, must be involved in the generating of opportunities, presenting what it is your company does, building value and truly selling what it is you do or offer with the goal of generating revenue.
Give the notice to your people today:
It's no longer business as usual but business unusual! Shortcuts will not be tolerated and we must ALL dedicate ourselves, our energies, and our efforts to the generation of opportunities that will create revenue for the company. Let the rest of the world cry and complain while we survive, prosper, and seize market share from others!