Thursday, October 8, 2009

Surging Ahead In a Storm

One of Jeb Blount's recent Sales Gravy podcasts struck a nerve with me. It's the perfect description for using a weak economy to surge past your competition.

Blount described a pair of cars driving down a highway at a high rate of speed. One car is miles ahead of the other. The second car is driving a little faster and slowing closing the gap, but the distance is far enough and the first car is fast enough that it will take a long time to catch up and pass the leader.

Even so, it's uncertain the second car will pass the leader. The leader could accelerate. The second car's rate of speed could slow slightly. Thus the gap between the two may narrow, hold, or grow.

However, the tough economy, like a heavy storm, slows all cars. The leader, fearful of driving in these conditions, slows, and may even pull over and stop. This opens the possibility for the follower to surge ahead and pass the listless leader. When the storm passes, the former leader will have to regain momentum and play catch up. He may never catch up.

Today's economy is like driving in the storm. Many of your competitors are so afraid of hydroplaning and spinning out of control that they pull over and try to ride out the storm. This creates an opportunity for you. Take advantage of it!

Do not take your foot off the gas. Don't drive your company wildly, but don't slow down out of fear of what might happen. The economy is too resilient to stay down for long. Despite state and federal policy blunders (e.g., spending wildly on transfer payments rather than infrastructure investments, raising the minimum wage, increased trade restrictions, increased regulation, tax increases, flat out stupid energy policy, a climate of uncertainty, etc.), the economy is still growing.

No downturn is permanent. This one will not be an exception. While it may not feel like it, all economic signs point to a slow, gradual recovery. Remember, unemployment is a lagging indicator and will not start to fall until the recovery is well underway.

Now... right now... today is an opportunity to surge past your more fearful, conservative competitors. You may not encounter another economic climate as favorable as this one for aggressive individual company action for decades. Take advantage of it. Surge ahead!

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