In A Down Economy, Tomorrow’s Leaders are Born Today


Thomas Kinkade

According to news makers, analysts, and experts and their constituents, the sky is falling. You can’t run away or hide from this very grim reality.

While we are in throes of a major financial crisis, it is during the most difficult of times when character is truly tested and defined.

Panic only leads to the further declination and eradication of progress.

Yes the market is slipping.

Yes, the financial market is resetting.

But the U.S economy, actually, the global economy, is a yo-yo on an escalator. It might go up and down, but eventually, it’s always going up.

Those who do not proactively contribute to the economy’s escalation are taking away from its ability to instill confidence and rally support.

So instead of running into a cave, shaking your head in disbelief, crying aloud, or scaring the s#!t out of everyone, ask yourself, “am I going to contribute to the alarm or am I going to dig in, dig deep, and do something about it?”

VCs are already calling for startups to cut expenses.

Entrepreneurs in turn hear that directive clearly as, “cut expenses.”

But, which expenses do they cut?

Here’s a simple answer…

Don’t cut or eliminate the expenses that strategically and cost effectively help you and your business engage customers and also the respective influencers who reach them and their social graph.

This is the time for entrepreneurs to realize that this is their opportunity to shine – especially if they have built something that businesses or real people can use to streamline their workflow or improve day-to-day routine.

In a down economy, tomorrow’s leaders are born today. It takes vision, focus, and a hyper-connected sense of what customers are looking for and where.

There is still valuable, helpful, and marketable innovation taking place today that people are willing to embrace.

Blindly cutting expenses for the sake of cutting expenses only fuels the hysteria.

It would be far more responsible of VC’s to help educate the people running their investments on how to best navigate these rough waters, what and where to cut and how to leverage transform these tough times into opportunities to increase mind and market share.

Remember, any company that intentionally pulls itself from the radar screens of potential and existing customers will find itself on a direct path to the Dead Pool.

The question is, what are YOU going to do about it?


Source: Sequoia Capital (via GigaOM)


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  • Acai

    the economist picture pretty much sums it all up.

  • Fernando Arocena

    Hi, Brian. Great article. That image of a yo-yo on an escalator is fantastic. I edit a business magazine in Argentina and we chose another metaphore: Salmon attitude (see cover here http://www.papblog.com.ar/wp/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/actitud-salmon.jpg) to refer to businessmen that grow faster in crisis times. In my country, crisis are an every day issue. And a lot of people is trainned to it.

  • Justin Levy

    Great post Brian! I love reading positive posts during this time when there is so much negativity. Keep up the great work!

  • James Bruni

    Let’s hope
    “expenses” don’t include our PR retainer fees.
    Great post. Puts things in perspective.

  • @Stephen

    Wow, another great post from another visionary that sees the silver lining in this economy. I am very upbeat, which perplexes my lovely bride – since my summer management contract just ended.
    So I am pursuing some more consulting gigs and building an e-learning site. Then, last week my lovely bride lost her job to downsizing, so we are preparing to go for a ride.

    Our lease is up at the end of the month, and we have enough money to last us until April or May. So we are going to visit family in Illinois and Wisconsin, then off to Hilton Head, SC for December and January. After that, who knows?

    Far from giving up, we are taking the fullest advantage!

  • Cindy King

    First, don’t sell your stock now. All you do is lock in your losses. Warren Buffet is buying now – buy low, sell high. Remember that.

    If the economy is bad for you in the US, remember that the international economy is not as bad as the US and the weak dollar means that a European will find your price more reasonable now.

    Sure, in Europe we pay $8.00 for a gallon of gas, but your $500 product cost fewer Euros than it did when the dollar is strong.

    Now is not the time to slow down on your marketing, but increase your offers and find a way to offer deals that sound more interesting. Today Kevin Hogan announced his ‘middle is free’ deal. If a client buys 3 products from you, give the middle product free – especially if this is a service or e-product. Selling 3 things at $59, $99 and $229, give the $99 product for free.

    Get inventive!
    Stumbled and linked to in my blog carnival.

ABOUT ME

Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

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