The local paper reports today (see link above) that manufacturing demand in the Inland Empire is growing, and purchasing managers are less pessimistic about the economy than they were previously.
Ok, not astoundingly positive news, however, it is clear that things are turning around a little bit. I would imagine that it will take some time to swing things back in to real growth.
So how do we keep this trend going, both as consumers and as business owners?
Stay positive. Ok, don’t slap me for that one. It is true, though. I have talked to a LOT of business owners over the last year. And many of them are so mired in their negative feelings, it is like they’re stuck in quicksand. The more they thrash about getting angry at their customers for not spending more, the further they sink. No one wants to do business with negative people who blame us for not spending more! (Come on over to RelyLocal’s home on Facebook to spend some time with positive people!)
Grow, don’t shrink. There is a marketing fellow up here who does great seminars and he makes the very rational point that if you choose to stop promoting your brand (however you might do that) then you are literally giving your market share over to your competitors. They WILL do what is necessary to grow if you won’t. As someone who is building her business on shoestring budget, I completely understand that paying the electric bill comes first. However, we can still have a mindset of growth and expansion and go full force into whatever outreach we CAN afford. Do not feed a self-perpetuating cycle of negativity, resulting in shrinking business. (Find out how RelyLocal is building a coalition of independent businesses in the High Desert!)
Network! You don’t have to sit in a circle and share your feelings to get support. When you step out and talk to other business owners at mixer events or business breakfasts, they get excited about what you do, you learn how they’re staying afloat, everyone is generating ideas. It can be a very positive shot in the arm. And following up with these people can make a practical difference in your business. Its not always going to be a home run, but getting out of your isolation will keep you moving in a positive direction. (RelyLocal is hosting our first free networking event on Monday – no boring speeches, no public speaking pressure!)
Practice what you preach. Do you want customers to come into your independent shop? Do you get frustrated when people go down the hill to buy? Flip it around. Are YOU buying locally? Are you supporting the independent businesses that make the High Desert (or wherever you live) unique? We have to be the change we want to see in the world, to paraphrase Gandhi. (Check out local businesses on RelyLocal!)
Personally, I think we are going to have to have a major shift in thinking across the country. Are we are cutting our noses off to spite our face by insisting on cheaper and cheaper goods? I love a bargain as much as the next girl, but I can’t help feeling that if that is all we pursue, that is ultimately all we will get. What are your thoughts? How can we accelerate change?