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We’re not in Kansas anymore. . .for those of you old enough to have seen The Wizard of Oz.

We’re into “this economy,” whatever this is, far enough that we all know at least we’ll survive it.  The point is, what to do now?  About our marketing, selling to existing customers, finding new ones and finding new ways to market what we sell.

The realities of 2011 for small business owners:

  1. It is what it is.
  2. We can’t do today what we did in 2008.
  3. Be quick, but don’t be in a hurry.
  4. Always.  Be.  Changing.

It is what it is.  This, or something close to it, is the new normal.  At least long enough that you can’t wait for “things to get better” without putting yourself serious risk.  Get over it and get going.

Things are different today and this requires doing things differently than you did in 2008.  I know you know this, but are you acting on it?  What are you saying about why people should buy from you?  Different or similar to what you said in 2008?  Make sure it’s different.

Be quick.  Test, iterate, poke, change.  But don’t be in a hurry: make sure you also ask, listen and reflect.

Hey Hamilton, isn’t this continual change thing a bit of a cliche at this point?  Well, actually, no.  I offer Google as a great example; probably the most amazing, gravity-changing success in 20 years.  Have you heard the drumbeat?  Search is dead, we’d rather ask our friends for their recommendations than Google, Facebook is beating Google, blah, blah, blah.  I offer Nokia, the #1 global market share leader in cell phones.  By a mile.  Their new CEO sent a memo to the troops rightly comparing their “platform” (operating system) to a burning oil platform.  I offer the ass-kicking Blockbuster Video is taking.

Finish with the self-congratulations for all the great things you’ve done and figure out how you’ll be relevant and irreplaceable tomorrow.  I know, it sucks.  But, it is what it is.  So, be quick, but don’t be in a hurry.  And always be changing.