Monday, January 25, 2010
You've heard about the Jobless Recovery. Experts predict that only Wall Street, banks, and a few large corporations will thrive, while the rest of us grovel for chump change. We have seen more bank failures and company closings, with millions of people out of work, and with bleak prospects.
If a recovery actually occurs, it will also be Darwinian. It's time to do some introspection and determine if you've got what it takes as an individual or a business -- to survive amongst the fittest.
A Jobless Recovery means that many people will have to forget being employed, stop trying to get hired, and become freelancers, independent contractors, entrepreneurs, or consultants.
You may have to start your own business. Or you may have to figure out what, specifically, are your marketable areas of expertise. What have you been praised for by former employers? What do your friends and family say are your greatest talents and strengths?
Once you pinpoint your marketability, you need to begin marketing yourself, not as a potential employee, but as a supplier or service provider. Start a blog and use text, audio, and video to showcase your work. Start a Twitter account and occasionally tweet links to your blog posts. Tweet links to other relevant work by leaders in your field.
You can establish yourself as the Go To Specialist by using the internet and web apps. The more you put online, the more likely people will find you and contact you. Search engines like frequent, keyword-rich, unique, relevant content. Polish it up and pump it out.
Survival of the fittest. In this horrible economic climate, only the smart businesses will survive. You must be savvy, fast, professional, under-promising and over-delivering. Are you evolving...or just coasting...just plodding along?
Throw away your books on Management, Financial Miracles, and Get Rich Quick schemes. Study and devour your books on Quality Assurance, Customer Relations, and Sales and Marketing.
To thrive, you must mingle with customers, experience or at least identify with their problems and needs, develop better solutions, then differentiate yourself from the competition.
Be known as "The Gal (or Guy) Who...." Who -- what? What marks you as an individual?
The blogger who has tons of information on child safety? The company that has the best selection of health food items? The newspaper that actually threads reader comments under the article, rather than shoving them off to a separate forum?
The business that's genuinely friendly, extremely helpful, and fair priced? The Christian music record label that keeps their artists to strict moral codes? The bookstore that bends over backwards to satisfy customer requests and loves to special order items for people?
Only the best and the brightest will survive. Everyone else will become permanently poor and dependent on government, which is itself broke and buried under tons of debt.
What are you doing to increase your expertise?
What are you doing to improve your skills?
What are you doing to enhance your friendliness?
What are you doing to beef up your professionalism?
What magazines are you reading to gain insights relevant to your business or art?
What classic novels are you reading to enrich your writing skills?
What philosophy books are you studying to sharpen your thinking skills?
What software are you mastering to transcend your current performance?
What personal shortcomings and vulnerabilities can you identify?
Who are you cultivating as mentors, contacts, and references?
How often do you turn off the TV and do something less passive?
What customer problems and needs do you need to learn more about?
How can your customer service and sales become more altruistic, caring, and kind?
What are you doing to help someone else succeed?