Thursday, April 10, 2008

Focusing In Tight Times....and in Good

Barry VanderKelen, who heads up the San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation, has a column entitled Nonprofit Strategies that appears from time to time in the SLO Tribune. I often catch it on-line when it appears. Today's is entitled Stay Focused in tight times. In it he asks Israel Dominguez, who became the new director of Cuesta College's Small Business Development Center in November, "how does a nonprofit organization navigate tough economic times?"

What I liked was the advice given by Mr. Dominguez is good for non-profit....and for profit enterprises alike. And not only in bad times -- but good ones too.

You may want to read the article yourself (link again) then come back here. Anyhow, I'm not known for lacking in opinions so I had a bit to add which is below:

For directors (and business owners), it shouldn't be a matter of thinking in terms of good times versus bad times but a matter of thinking: Who really are my customers? What do they truly want right now? How might I give it to them? And, critically, how do I communicate to them in a compelling way that is compatible with their current mindset?

Good times just means we get to be a bit more lazy in our planning and implementation of all of the above while still drifting by. :-) True success -- the kind that is sustainable anyway -- takes deliberate analysis of the marketplace. Once you're in that position you stop worrying about the ups and downs of the economy other than as variables to incorporate into your analysis about what needs and desires you should be meeting for your customers and making sure your marketing is appealing to them in the new context.

Ironically, with a bit of creativity and persistence, economic downturns can actually be incorporated into ones product/service development and marketing messages. All changes and cycles present opportunities for the astute director/manager/owner.

"You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out." -- Warren Buffet

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent insights and speaks to the truth of the matter.