The other day, we stopped at the store on the way home from church to get some chips to go with our lunch.
Instead of taking the whole Crowley circus inside, I pulled up to the curb by the entrance so my wife could just jump out and run in. I then strategically parked our silver Tahoe in a space so I could survey the entrance and see her when she came out.
A minute later, a guy driving a silver Suburban, same year, same wheels and same road scuzz as our Tahoe, pulled up to the curb and a woman got out. Instead of finding a parking space (like other model patrons) he stayed by the curb with his engine running. I was thinking how funny it would be if my wife mistook his Suburban for our Tahoe, when she walked out of the store. To my disbelief, she walked right up to the passenger door of the Suburban, opened it, and started to get in!
Needless to say, she and the driver were in for an awkward surprise. Good thing he was paying attention or they might have driven off together. Good thing the guy's wife didn't appear while my wife was getting out!
I was laughing when she climbed in and she knew immediately that I had seen the whole thing.
"Why didn't you do something? Like honk or yell out the window or something before I embarrassed myself?" she demanded.
"I guess I was so shocked by the fact that you were actually going to get into the car that I was momentarily paralyzed." I replied still laughing. She failed to see the humor.
She again failed to see the humor when I told her that the story was going to be the topic of this article.
Are you shocked by the spectacle of this recession and bad news to the point of paralysis? Are you standing by silently while your customers climb into someone else's Suburban?
If so, it's time to do something about it.
Here are three strategic actions that separate the movers on the ladder to success and the shakers, shivering in their rubber boots.
First, turn off the TV. The never ending drumbeat of unemployment numbers, stock market declines, foreclosures and bankruptcies can dampen the enthusiasm of the most optimistic entrepreneur. Avoid the negativity and replace it with creativity.
Secondly, get creative in finding new customers. Who are the customers who are buying your products or services today? Where are they coming from? Then find new products and services to offer the clients you already have. Eliminate passivity and replace it with activity.
Thirdly, take action. Improve your operation and increase the value proposition. If you can provide a unique service, additional products, or a superior experience, at the same price your competitors are charging, it will tip the scale in your favor. Don't let them leave with an ace up your sleeve.
Friends, there IS business out there. Honk your horn and yell out the window if you have to, because this is no time to let the competition drive off with your customers!
Aaron J. Crowley is the founder and president of FabricatorsFriend.com, the exclusive promoter of Stone Sleeve fabricator sleeves and Bullet Proof aprons. He is also the author of Less Chaos More Cash. You can reach him by email at