Blame It On the Economy and Watch Your Profits Sink

When we launched the Hiring Tips Blog, I mentioned that I’d provide some other types of tips from time-to-time. This particular business tip has received a tremendous amount of positive feedback, so I’d like to make it available to you here.

It makes good sense to pay attention to economic indicators. But a weakening economy should not give you a reason for your sinking bottom line. If it does, then you may have just found the real cause for your bottom line: blaming it on the economy.

Too often people believe the “reason” they are having a particular problem is due to something that is happening elsewhere (and usually outside of their control). This is especially true in the business world. Here is an example:

Shoe Store A is doing very well until Shoe Store B opens up across the street. Revenues decline at Shoe Store A as Shoe Store B gets up and going. But, and this is a very important but, to the degree that the owner (and staff) at Shoe Store A attribute their decline in revenue to the existence of Shoe Store B, TO THAT DEGREE they will be unable to deal  with it.

Shoe Store A simply needs to step back and realize they have new competition and take concrete steps to retain their current customers and create new ones. Perhaps they need to streamline their marketing and advertising effort. Maybe they actually need to do some marketing for the first time!

The reason sales are down at Shoe Store A is not Shoe Store B. Sales are down because Shoe Store A did not effectively shift their own gears to keep their business afloat and prosperous.

That may sound simplistic, but when an executive or business owner places the blame elsewhere, this very act of “placing blame elsewhere” reduces his ability to devise effective solutions. It actually reduces his ability to think straight, because s/he is so embroiled in what is happening somewhere else.

“Elsewhere” is not a place that you can easily control. But you do have complete control over what happens internally within your business. You do have control over how efficient your staff are. You do have control over how well surveyed your marketing messages are. And you can control the level of care shown to your customers.

There are countless aspects of your business that you have control over. Those are the items that should occupy your time and focus. Complete focus. To the degree that you assign the source of a problem to “elsewhere”, to that degree you will be incapable of handling your own scene.

Let’s look at one more example of this. A dental practice considers it has “slow periods of the year.” One such period is the end of the year. Numerous professionals believe the end of the year simply is not as productive as other parts of the year. And of course they have statistics to back up this belief. Every year, December is just very slow.

Then there is the dentist who decided he wasn’t going to have a slow December again. So, back in October and November, this dentist figured out a few things to do for December. He reminded his patients that most insurance companies do not allow you to carry over unused insurance from year to year. He offered his patients incentives to come in during the holiday season. He just plain worked on it so that his December was not a “slow period.” The result? He now no longer believes in “slow periods” and of course he has the statistics to back up this new belief.

You can always find statistics to match a belief. If you believe you are going to have slow periods, you’ll have them. Why generate the insight, focus and hard work to fix something that you know and believe is not fixable?

The same is true on a broader scale with “the economy”. If you believe “the economy” is the basis for your declining revenues, you’re in more trouble than you need to be. Anything that is outside of your immediate control is just that: outside of your immediate control. Put your total focus on your internal scene and get yourself busy improving things there.

Leave “elsewhere” alone.


As the law varies in each area, please check with an attorney to ensure you are applying these tips within the law.

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