Embracing Collapse and Creative Destruction in Business

June’s jobs report is bad – even when the birth-death models are applied to make the reported numbers look better than the actual number of jobs lost.  By some (once official) accounts, real unemployment could be somewhere in the middle teens – even as high as 16.5%.

There’s nothing here to celebrate, but there is no reason to panic either.  Its not time to liquidate your assets or sell off your business – the going rates in the market will never pay what they’re worth right now.  Instead, its a chance to focus on fundamentals and establish a model of profitability despite slow retail and advertising numbers.  Instead of hoping for a quick recovery or trying to cash out low, its a great time to build up a stronger business with lower costs and a greater focus on conversions.

Online, there’s been quite a bit of shake up over the last year including some high profile acquisitions and the loss of dozens of top-scale social websites and probably thousands of others that were always just of local or niche interest.  If your online presence was heavily invested in these communities, it can be tough to pick up and start all over again, but there’s your reminder to stay a bit more diversified in terms of promotion and social community engagement.

The basic model of the web business is fine – its the bells and whistles that are driving bankruptcies. 1) Build content people like, 2) match advertisements to the content, and 3) then all the traffic you can build is as good as cash.  The subtleties are important, but they shouldn’t stray far from those three key points else costs will quickly overwhelm revenue.

A Great Time to Hire

Got the model down and find extra cash in your account each month?  Now is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build your business by employing more workers.  There are a lot of fully capable folks out there facing miserable prospects in the generally weak job market.  Great minds are willing to contribute to your business at low, low prices.  In fact, there’s a whole generation of tech-savvy students graduating high school or college that will work for less than older workers despite knowing more about how the internet and social media works.

Take Inventory of your Product Line

Obviously, if we’re talking about the web business, you probably won’t have an actual physical inventory of products – but you do have a sort of a catalogue, that is, the products you promote and the ones you emphasize.  If business is slow, consider how the products you’ve pushed relate to the new economic order.  Are they luxuries or daily necessities?  Are they consumed for fun or do they increase the buyers potential earning power (tools, knowledge, etc..)?

While personal luxury consumption has crashed, savings are up – and this can include products sold online if they’re intended to raise the purchaser’s long term wealth.  Need more specific ideas?  Think about books for certification tests, web hosting, graphical design software, gardening supplies…  All of these cost money up front and may even be considered fun, but they’re purchased with an intent to invest and profit in the future. This is creative destruction at its finest:  as we realize the status quo isn’t sustainable, people begin to make rapid decisions with the intent of building a better tomorrow.  Don’t cry for the business that fails, get in on the one that will lead the new way and help it revolution its industry.

Chances are, if you’ve been working to build up content and links, you’ve already got all the digital capital you need to turn a profit and keep your web business running and growing.  Now is a great time to consider inefficiencies or even to expand if you can’t find any.

Whatever you do… don’t just stand there panicking!

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