My dad taught me an important lesson about business and recessions. The recession of the early 80’s transformed his business. I felt the effects. And it felt good.
Now for the obligatory sob story…
Dad spent over a decade struggling as he built his business. Our weekly treat was a single Hershey bar split three ways on Friday nights. Yes, it sounds cliché, but times truly were hard. Then the recession hit. Stagflation was the word of the day.
Inflation was out of control. (sort of like today). Then FED Chair, Paul Volker, raised interest rates to force a recession and stop inflation (again, sort of like this week). But here’s where it gets interesting.
Life didn’t get worse. It got better. Instead of a weekly Hershey bar, we started having ice cream. We got a boat … and then another. I started walking into school with a strut in my step.
For the first time I was wearing new clothes – nice clothes. And it felt good.
But this started during the recession … the worst recession since WWII. Years later, my dad told me how it worked out so well.
Dad was always a Warren Buffett fan. And Buffett said:
“Be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy only when others are fearful.”
So, while most folks hoarded cash, Dad bargain shopped as he invested in his business. Hungry sales folks eager for any kind of sale outfitted dad with the latest equipment at a discount. It gave him a competitive advantage.
Then he used that advantage to drive more business at higher margins. Then life got better. And it felt good.
Dad died in 2007. I started my business two years later. There have been hard times, and I wish Dad was here to coach me through them. After his death, I discovered something.
One of his report cards surfaced. I remember thinking sure, I had bad grades – but never this bad. Why did he give me so much grief? Then I realized something else.
Dad rarely told me about his failures – just his successes. I realized he had many failures. And I wish he had let me learn from his mistakes. Over the last ten years I’ve wondered how many mistakes I could have avoided with that knowledge. But one of Dad’s lessons is shouting in my ears this week.
The problem with recession isn’t the lack of opportunity. It’s the lack of preparation. I have – you have – we all have two basic choices.
Are we going to follow the masses and hoard resources? Or will we act like my dad and embrace the rare opportunity in front of us? I know what Buffett is going to do. And I think he is outright giddy with hope.
I believe one the greatest opportunities for your business is an effective First-Time Offer (FTO). It’s an irresistible offer that will grease the skids of your sales funnel and make you faster than a Jamaican bob sled team. But I’ve got a caution.
Building an effective First-Time Offer is harder than it looks (Ask me how I know).
I spent 18 months fumbling around before it started coming together. I don’t believe you have 18 months to figure it out. And I’d rather you learn from my mistakes.
So, I created this website to help folks make it through this recession quickly. Because I believe we can shorten the recession if we pull together and help each other through it.