Gordon Currie's 25 Years Of Marketing Experience

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4 Important Business Considerations To Survive the Current Slow Down

As part of an ongoing series in surviving the current layoffs and crappy economy, I wanted to address 5 things that come to mind as I walk through the coffee shops in my community. This blog post offers up a different perspective and demonstrates the cup is half full approach.

1 – The Concept of The Traditional Layoff

This past week I spoke to many who were affected by the recent layoffs in Northeast British Columbia. With oil still 30% off the previous price and a low Canadian dollar, companies are dumping staff in droves. This might be temporay but it still affects a lot of families in our area.

What’s different about these layoffs is that 30 years ago, it was happening and people had about 3 choices. They could go on Unemployment Income Assiatance, change careers, or take on some part-time work if they could find any.

Today, you can go back to school and take a course online on your computer for as little as $10. Using services like Udemy.com or Lynda.com and many others, you can self educate at a very low cost. That was not an option years ago.

Another option might be to start a home business online, selling products that you create yourself, or setup a small business (in minutes) selling advice from past experiences you have had or even promoting affiliate products. Many are well written and you simply have to advertise or share amongst friends. Want to reach 7500 people in a geographic area interested in your product? This can be done for less than $5-$10 a week using Facebook Ads.

2 – Technology to Generate Income Is Getting Better

I often get told during a time of layoffs, “I don’t understand technology or the choices I have to make money from home.” I find many people have no desire to ADAPT to the changing markets. Ten years ago when they started their job, times were different. Technology (computers, software, apps, mobile phones, 3D Printing and the Internet) were very different.

I think I can say that technology as a whole, has improved and changed 1000%. So based on that, how are people adapting – or not – to the new opportunities? You simply can’t sit back and claim you don’t understand or won’t change. That is not an option and yet I hear that daily.

Layoffs and cutbacks suck. But like most things in life, you need to be prepared!

3 – Learning To Adapt To The Markets

The concept of adapting was simple 30 years ago. We came home, advised our spouse we were laid off and in some cases, bags were backed and you relocated to where work was. Many left the forest industry and moved 1000 miles to new work opportunities. Others in fishing on the east coast moved out to BC. This form of adapting was not uncommon and uprooted families.

The kind of adaption that comes to my mind is looking at the big picture and saying “What if I didn’t move….or change careers completely? What other opportunities are there for people to take?”

My community, Dawson Creek, arguably has a population of about 15,000 people. The biggest highway going out of our community is…..the Internet. Stop for a minute and look at your computer. With its Net connection, it easily reaches 20 million consumers in Canada and about 211+ million in the US alone. If you offered a service or product in Dawson Creek (lets call them green tea cups with pictures of moose hand painted on them) you might sell them for $15 for a set. You could sell 20 sets in town before the market got diluted. Those sales might add up to $300 worth of product. Sell another 180 and you are starting to make about what your paycheck used to be.

Now, if you advertised these teacups online and targeted the Canadian market, you are reaching a much better qualified market and much larger market. Why? Out of 20 million people, drinking tea is a pretty big deal. Teacups are big seller!

In order to sell into this market, what does it cost to sell these products to someone in Ontario? Or Alberta? Nothing beyond a bit more shipping costs. The Internet and your home computer opens up a monstrous new market, one that you can sell into. People are doing this everyday!

Now the secret to really making this work? It doesn’t cost any more to reach the 211 million dollar US market than it does the Canadian market. The secret sauce on this technique? It’s the 30% greater value “opportunity” called the currency exchange. You can price the products at $15 USD and earn an additional $5 for every package sold. Just by targeting US based clients. Their adoption of buying online is well documented and established.

Now folks some might add that they don’t know how to do this. I will tell you four words – YOU CAN LEARN HOW! You also don’t have to reach every single American citizen. You just need to sell 300, 600 or maybe 1000. That is totally doable in a market that is thousands of percent bigger than little old Dawson Creek!

4 – Pick Your Audience, Plant The Seed and Reap The Benefits

The last tip or technique is simple. It’s not hard selling heating pads to folks in the desert. But the old adage – you can’t sell ice to Eskimo (apologies if this sounds racist) means you have to target or segment the audience. Huh?

When selling online, the KEY to success is targeting groups or segmenting your audience that want to buy your product(s). So for example, selling teacups to everyone in Dawson Creek is not a reality as they might not all drink tea. On the Internet you can target groups that ALL drink tea. Therefore you have a much better chance to sell those teacups before you even ship a single cup!

Another strategy that works well and ties to the above tip is knowing what tea drinkers or those who buy cups enjoy when it comes to hobbies or other interests. If you found that your average customer enjoyed “Game of Thrones”, its worth looking at Game of Thrones fan websites, Forums and other places these “Tea” loving fans hang out.

So to wrap up, understand that sometimes bad news like layoffs can hide additional opportunities that you might not have considered. If you don’t know how to explore other options or need some help, email me your questions and I will post some follow ups in future blog posts.

Stay positive!


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April 25th, 2015



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