Why will the “little guys” lead the way? It’s just that they
always have and they probably always will. After all, small
business owners are the biggest job creators, even when compared
to an octopus-like federal government that is inclined to spread
its tentacles across the land.
In part, this growth is inevitable because entrepreneurs are
incurable optimists. Who but an optimist would have the audacity
to start – and the resilience to run – an enterprise that in
most cases is underfinanced and unsupported by a hierarchy of
experienced predecessors and mentors?
Of course, there are different grades of optimists. President
John F. Kennedy, who never was a businessman, once described
himself as an optimist without illusion. That may be arguable,
but this is not: The aggressive type of entrepreneurs who will
lead us out of the economic woods, though some may suffer an
occasional illusion, are more likely to be visionaries than they
are merely dreamers like their less storm-worthy counterparts.
And they are neither allergic to hard work nor a willingness to
change direction on a dime when it becomes apparent that a
course correction is indicated.
A recent poll of 776 small-business owners conducted by City
Business Journals Network showed that despite the fact 70
percent of those responding said they remained very concerned
about the economy, small-business owners are more optimistic
about the future than they were immediately after the
Presidential election. In November, only 37 percent expected
their business prospects to improve. By January, that number had
grown to 63 percent. Indeed, this represents a healthy trend,
even for such a hearty variety.
Entrepreneurs by the score must – and are — reevaluating their
marketing areas to determine how they not only can drive
business through their doors and/or visitors to their Website,
but how they can drive revenues, too. On the Web, this might
include offering new services, or, even, data than will enhance
their current offerings while building some brand loyalty.
The new breed
Though our firm, too, has experienced some client defections
during the recession, these have been largely offset by some new
additions to our client roster. This “new breed” of
recession-battling companies seems to have a few characteristics
• Each has a viable business model that has stood the test of
• Each has a firm (and invariably accurate) conviction that they
are better than most of their competitors.
• They are led by insightful, rock-ribbed innovators, which is
how they gained their enviable pre-recession standing in the
• A careful appraisal of the general landscape, with a
particular focus on their field, has caused them to direct their
skills of innovation toward the adoption of meaningful remedies.
• They have been willing to devote the necessary effort and
(sometimes extremely strained) financial resources to the new
direction or posture they have chosen.
• And, yes, they are mindful of the fact that companies who
market during a recession not only surpass their more reticent
competitors in the now, but bounce back stronger and higher when
normalcy returns to the market (about 275% stronger than others,
according to a McGraw Hill study). Wouldn’t it be great if more
businesses could “think small” in a like manner?
About the author:
Allan Starr founded Marketing Partners in 1976. The firm
provides local, regional, national and international strategic
marketing, advertising, public relations and sales promotion
services for a diverse client list. He also has been a
nationally known photographer, award winning copywriter and
editor/publisher of national trade magazines. <a