Tighten Your Belt… But Don’t Cut Off the Circulation!

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Is it just me?  Am I the only one who thinks we’ve simply gone beyond ridiculous?  Do we really need the daily news quips telling us that “the price at the pump went up a penny today” or “gas prices went down a penny overnight”?  Pain at the pump.  Costs for consumer goods and services have been on a sharp incline.  We get it.  Times are tough.  From consumers to small businesses to large corporations… no one is immune.  The light at the end of the tunnel is the size of a pin prick and the train is sitting motionless on the tracks.  But then… you’re not reading anything you don’t already know.   So what’s a small business owner to do?
   
The initial reaction for small business owners is to say “We’ll need to tighten our belts”.  Excellent.  An important first step in survival during trying times.  You’re off to a fine start.  The next decision is the one that will kill your business.  “We’ll need to cut out our advertising”.  WRONG!  That’s the worst mistake a small business owner can make!
   
Advertising is your lifeline to consumers and the money they spend.  Sure, consumers may be spending a little less.  But they’re still spending.  Wealthy or not, people still have needs.  Local residents have daily needs and emergencies requiring the purchase of goods and services.  New people continue to move to Monroe County and require goods and services.  Young people are growing up, moving out of the house, and becoming new consumers who need to pay for goods and services all by themselves.
   
So… what are your options?  Don’t rule out newspapers, magazines, or the Internet.  Millions still buy newspapers… subscribe to magazines… and use the Internet.  Somewhere on those pages and on those sites is an advertisement for something.   Millions see those ads.  Recent consumer research shows that of people seeing ads for goods and services in newspapers, 67% do further research online to obtain additional information about that particular business.  Of that, nearly 70% actually make a purchase after finishing their research.
   
What about the Internet?  So you don’t use a computer yourself.  (Yes… believe it or not, there are still businesses out there that aren’t online, don’t use email… and you can forget about Facebook posts or Tweets!)  So… perhaps you’re one of those who feels a computer or the Internet aren’t necessary for your business.  But this isn’t about whether or not you choose to use a computer or the Internet.  Nearly 90% of consumers use the Internet to locate goods & services.  Will they find anything out there about YOUR business?  If you’re not a member of your local Chamber of Commerce, chances are you’re missing out on great website traffic and social networking connections there as well!
    
Advertising is your flashlight in the darkness of tough economic times.  Keep your flashlight on and you’re visible in the pitch black darkness.  Turn your flashlight off and no one will ever know you’re there.  Cutting your advertising is like turning off your flashlight.  Those who need you and your goods and services will never know you exist.

Written by William H. Wells III for local Monroe County, Tennessee Newspapers
Monroe County, Tennessee includes the communities of Coker Creek, Madisonville, Sweetwater, Tellico Plains, and Vonore.

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