Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Misplaced optimism? I don’t think so…

imageThis article was written by Dennis Wright, Chairman, Orange County SCORE

In a recent article in the Orange County Register my comments regarding the Orange County economy in the coming year seem to be pretty darn optimistic when compared to comments from others, but I find it hard to be pessimistic when I look beyond media headlines and editorial pontification.

In years gone by I learned that market research was essential to success, and it was done by both listening and observing; we live in a very consuming society and if as a seller I had the right products or services to meet specific demand I’d sell stuff.

Now fast forward to today; I recall Whirlpool recently saying they believe we’re entering the beginning of a (product) replacement cycle. Supporting that view of course is data illustrating existing home sales numbers are growing. On another front I heard that the average age of cars on the road now is close to 11 years. So there are reasons to believe.

To take advantage of this situation - this pent up demand - business owners need to understand who their prospective customers are, what those folks need or want, who they’re competing with and why that prospective customer should choose them over their competitors. Then they have to make the right presentation; in other words, get the appropriate message out to the right people.

Seems like a simple formula, right? Well, you’d be very surprised to know how many business owners aren’t doing that. In addition, their response to the last question is “we’ll give better service” or “we’ll be the low cost provider”. Fact is the former doesn’t work, everybody says that up front, and the latter is not a pathway to long term success and profits. Understanding who you are and what specific need or want you satisfy is, and having a well thought out, executable plan should enable you to sell stuff too.

I worked with a man years ago who had a plaque on his desk illustrating the following (author unknown) quote on it: “If it is to be it is up to me”. That sums things up pretty well.

Yes, I’m optimistic and no, I don’t think my optimism is misplaced… do you?