Succeeding or Failing Ops and fin – by Dean R. DeLisle
November 9, 2009
The Economic Conundrum…Expand or Contract
November 9, 2009

Are You Surviving…or Succeeding?




It’s a simple question, but one with far reaching implications for your business. As the economy sputters along, a “Gloom and Doom” perception often permeates the boardroom. Businesses stop strategizing for “success” and start to prepare for “survival”. If this is a question you are asking yourself, or maybe one you have answered, but are having second thoughts on…here are a few points to consider:


  1. Understand that no business ever succeeded by adopting a survival strategy. Regardless of market conditions, the ultimate goal is to succeed, and efforts continually reinforce that objective. Leaders in their respective industries, and those pushing to become the leaders, never accept a survival mentality. Periods of market uncertainty, and economic turmoil create an opportunity to refine practices, improve strategy, and diminish the competition.


  1. If you truly feel the best strategy for your business is to “survive” and then wait until the market and economy rebound…then please, stop reading this article, as it is not intended for your eyes.


  1. A entrepreneur or executive usually positions the business into 1 of 3






They understand their client, the market, the competition, and are always seeking new business opportunities…the hunters who know exactly what they are looking for. These are generally businesses with staying power and long-term objectives.




They understand the need for their services in the marketplace, and like a


Predator, aggressively seek new business opportunities. However, their ambitions are a little different in that they eventually want to be “swallowed” by a larger conglomeration and receive a reward for their efforts.




These are the survivalists, and pure opportunists. When the market is good, their business is good. They expand, they spend, they profit. When the market becomes distressed, their business becomes stressed. They contract, they lay-off, they lose money. This is a business model that is neither strategy nor client focused. When there is abundant volume in the marketplace…the business will survive. When that volume shrinks, the business has no other recourse than to shrink with the supply.





I realize it’s easy to sit back and espouse advice and be critical from afar. Talk is cheap, as they say. However, understand that I share the same challenges as a business owner, and have to answer the same difficult questions. It’s not easy to think aggressively during a period of recession, but it is critical.


Creating a successful strategy to succeed in periods of marketing distress is a detailed process, but I would like to leave you with a summary of three critical components…


Customer Service


Now more than ever, the client is your greatest resource. Treat them as such.




The reason organizations reduce marketing/advertising budgets when the economy is slow is because they often questioned the value when the economy was good! When your marketing efforts are ambiguous instead of accurate…you’re wasting money regardless of marketing conditions. Change your approach!


Technology & CRM


Invest in technology, and update your lead management system. It is critical that information is managed, and potential clients are facilitated properly. Without a lead management system, and a consistent pipeline flowing opportunities…there is no business.



If you’re wondering what separates the truly successful leaders from the average…it starts with the answer to this question: “Do I want to succeed, or just survive?”


Rick Sherman is a senior level business advisor and coach for Forward Progress, Inc. and the President of New Essence Media, a marketing agency focused on developing strategies through “Intelligent Integration”. To contact: [email protected]