James Carville was one of Bill Clinton’s strategists in 1992. America was going through a recession fueled by the war in Kuwait. It was a short recession, but Carville’s wit was one of the headlines of the 1992 Presidential election that swayed voters to a younger, saxophone-playing, hipper choice. “It’s the economy, stupid”.
The economy wasn’t the problem. America was tired of the same old policies that governed her for 12 years.
It wasn’t the problem then. It’s not the problem now.
I remember in 2004, my boss excused our poor sales performance on the Iraq war. Before that, it was a hurricane. And before that, it was the dot com bubble.
It was easy to explain away our woes for things outside of our control.
And his boss bought it.
He knew how to self-preserve.
I owned restaurants for fifteen years. In those years, other operators complained of a crappy economy. I pretended to agree so.
But we never had a declining year in sales.
My business grew when others failed because we focused on what we could control.
There are economic slowdowns that force businesses to close (Covid-19). When a mill closes, leaving a large group of people unemployed in a town, it sprays its mess through the whole town.
I didn’t own a business in 2020, so I didn’t experience the Covid-19 losses.
I know it was tough.
That was then.
The economy cannot be blamed going forward.
I called a roofer. He showed up the same day to take measurements. I called three times to get a quote. He never returned any of my calls. After four weeks, I called his competitor.
I needed some drywall done. My drywall guy took 5 months to show up. When he finally did show up, his one-week job turned into three weeks. The workmanship was ok, but the inconvenience of living in dust for three weeks was unbearable. The economy is not his problem for losing my future business.
I had a plumbing problem. The plumber told me he was busy for two days but promised to assess my problem on day three. That was three weeks ago. Where is my plumber? My uncle, who is a retired plumber, did the work. The economy has nothing to do with an inability to keep a promise.
We wanted a hot tub. I visited two local companies and asked for a quote. One company took three weeks to respond to our request. They were too late. We bought one from Costco. Again the damn economy might be the downfall of another local company.
I called an electrician four times to finish the wiring for my hot tub. I never received an invoice after he finally came. Should I make him call me four times to get paid? I’ll never know. I never received a bill. He went out of business. Damn economy…
If you’re in business, do yourself a favor.
Blame the things you can control and stop worrying about the things you can’t.
Covid sucked. But it’s time to move on.
Face the music. Put on your big boy (or girl) panties.
Don’t listen to Carville and blame the economy.
It might be how you treat your customers.
Advertising can never fix these problems for you.
Advertising will only speed up what was going to already happen.
Remember that when you think about how you’re going to grow your sales.
Take care of your customers in the most amazing way you can.
Eventually, they will reward you with more business.