August 12, 2013

2009: The Dip

Five popular songs from 2009:
  • "Boom Boom Pow" - The Black Eyed Peas
  • "Poker Face" - Lady Gaga
  • "Just Dance" - Lady Gaga featuring Colby O'Donis
  • "I Gotta Feeling" - The Black Eyed Peas
  • "Love Story" - Taylor Swift
Yup, Seth Godin wrote this little ditty back in 2007 (click here for your own copy).  You start something, it's fun and exciting, and then ... it gets hard.

Happened to me in 2009.

I am not a fan of trade journals. Back in 2009, a not-so-flattering article was written about me in a popular trade journal. I tried to offer a rebuttal in the comments section. Every time I posted a response, the editor of the trade journal deleted my comment, while allowing those who were criticizing me to post their comments, unedited. I sent an email to the editor, expressing my frustration. My email messages were not acknowledged. Readers continued to pile on. (FYI - a year ago, the article disappeared from the website).

Two months later, a major vendor accused me of stealing his business (this did not happen, the accusation was patently false). He loudly criticized me to his community of clients, essentially telling his clients not to work with me. Those clients stopped working with me.

In the span of two months, two events essentially out of my control crushed my business. I was fully living "the dip". The first two years were largely easy. Now, not so much.

Many of you, too, are in the dip, often because of events out of your control.

Maybe a key vendor raises prices, making it terribly difficult for you to compete.

Maybe various search terms have become too expensive, hurting future business prospects.

Maybe your career is fundamentally stuck.

Maybe Amazon is in the process of putting you out of business - generating sales while generating no profit - ever - (click here to read this interesting analysis).

Regardless, you enter "the dip".

Back in 2009, there were things that were in my control. Integrity. Honesty. Analytics products you could not get anywhere else. Marketing via my blog. Innovative products.

A year later, in mid-2010, my business hit a high point that has been maintained since. I created two products during "the dip" that became top sellers. I made the best of my situation, with hard work during "the dip" paying off 2-4 years later.

Too often, I analyze businesses that have merchandising problems. Those problems surfaced years ago, leading to a dip today. How you respond to those problems today determines how successful business will be in the future. Start working on a marketing plan for new products, right now!