From Crisis comes Opportunity

November 3, 2008

Productivity comes from innovation. Innovation comes from investment and change.

Those were the words from Seth Godin yesterday in his blog about the need for innovation right now to lead us out of the current recession. And it is a great point, one that gets lost in the noise.

Tomorrow is election day, and this election comes at a time when the country needs a great change. And even though the media will tell you over and over again how bad things are, we will work through them. Out of every crisis comes opportunity and development. We will put in place new systems to control the problems for the future, but we will also develop new ideas and new strategies that take us to the next level.

Innovation comes from an investment in something new. To invest in something new, a company may need to reevaluate what is important to their future growth. That may mean shifting investments from one area to the other. This is a strong, healthy process for our economy on the whole. A crisis like this forces companies, large and small, to turn the looking glass on themselves. For the first time in a long time they will have to make the tough decisions about what stays and what goes.

Economic booms are great, but they don’t encourage change. Who is going to lead us to the next boom?

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Small Businesses Licking their Chops

October 4, 2008

Too many people spend too much time worrying about the financial crisis.  That is not to say that this is not a major problem that deserves our attention and our respect, but there is only so muc we can do about it right now.  The key is to empower those who can help solve the problem and let them go to work.

But for some, the crisis will create opportunities.  I am talking to the small business owners, or potential entrepreneurs out there.

In any downturn or crisis situation, when the rules of the game are changing in a powerful way, new winners and losers will sort themselves out.  New champions of our economy will rise to the top.  And as the dust settles, we will be looking at industries very differently than we have before.

Small businesses and startups have an incredible opportunity now to define themselves as real players in the future of our economy.  Since these companies are small enough and secure enough not to take any major hits from the crisis on wall street, it is a time to explore new opportunities.  While the major players in every industry build walls around themselves to protect from being hurt, the small players should take some risks to level the playing field.

Now is the time to bring your services to the forefront.  Land the big clients that are looking to save some cash.  Market the products that have the potential to save people from distress.  Bring your brand to the public in a big way so that when the economy starts to bounce back, as it most definitely will, you will already have the attention you need to bounce with it.

No one is asking for this crisis, and no one wants a recession.  But entrepreneurs should be chomping at the bit right now to make something out of this situation.  If you do one thing very well, and offer it fairly cheap, don’t you think you can make a splash with companies who need to cut costs.

And even in the banking industry, there is room for new players to at least start to have an impact.  The key is to establish your differences, and build off of them.

Here is one example of a company playing that card.  Think of ways you can do it too.