Monday, October 19, 2009

BBJ: The Only Economic Indicator I Need

Back in the mid-90s I went out to speak to a group of individuals attending a Businesspersons Between Jobs (BBJ) meeting. BBJ has been around for years as a resource for those displaced from their jobs and looking for a new beginning. I spoke about starting a business. At the time our economy was booming and there were about 20 of us in a school gymnasium.
A few months ago I went back to speak on the same topic. There were 22o and another 50 or so standing in the back. There are many gauges for the success of the economy as we start to head out of this recession. Thankfully, most of those numbers are looking good.
The number I'll focus on is the weekly attendee list of BBJ. Until we get that number back down in the 20-50 range, we won't fully recover.
--Ron Ameln, SBM

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Business Is Always About The Fundamentals

I remember the late Bill Walsh, former coach and executive with the San Francisco 49ers talking about the latest offenses in the NFL. He said, people have the "West Coast Offense, the Run-And-Shoot, the Power-I, but at the end of the day, it's the team that blocks and tackles better that always wins. Those fancy offenses are great, but you must block and tackle better than the opposing team to win, regardless of your fancy offense."
I try and keep this in mind as I hear businesses and their plans for social networking. Sometimes, I think they forget about blocking and tackling. Now, I'm not saying don't get on Facebook and Twitter and all of that. I'm involved in them. I'm just saying that your business success will come down to business basics and fundamentals. Facebook isn't going to help you get those.
In the early-to mid-1990s there were local businesses that slashed marketing budgets because with the advent of the Internet, they could pull clients in from all over the world, or so they were told. They were told they didn't need the old ways of branding, marketing and prospecting. One photographer stopped marketing and spent thousands on a website. Well, so did thousands of other photographers. The business never came.
For most businesses, the Internet has been an invaluable resource and efficiency tool. However, if you had problems selling your services before the web, you usually had the same problems after. It wasn't a cure all by any means.
It's blocking and tackling. The hype about social networking is great and it is here to stay. Just don't ignore what it takes to be successful. Sometimes, when times are tough, we search for the quick fix. Maybe we should revisit the fundamentals of business.
-Ron Ameln, SBM