Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tough Times

It is no surprise to anybody that things are pretty tough out there these days.  Unemployment is over 9% and has been for over two years.  There is talk that we are on the verge, if we aren't already, of a double dip recession.  Energy prices, while down in recent weeks, are still at pretty high levels.  In general, things don't look like they will be improving any time soon. Food prices are rising rapidly.  Just this week it was reported that the price of peanut butter was expected rise 30-40% in the coming weeks.

I count myself as fortunate that I have a pretty good job right now.  At one point, I had a job that I held for over 21 years when the company I worked for eliminated my position.  At that time, it took me nearly a year to find another full time job, and that was during better economic times.  In the years since then, I had three other full time jobs between that one and my current position.  I held each of those positions for about a year or less.  I have been in my current position now for a little more than three years.

These days, businesses are looking for just about any edge that they can come up with to give them a competitive advantage.  There are a lot of different strategies that a business can utilize to differentiate themselves from the competition.  Some differentiate themselves by emphasizing price, while others emphasize service.  Then there are businesses like Apple who make their product offerings the focus of the business.

Of course, that type of differentiation is fine for things like brick and mortar retail outlets or internet retailers, but what about other types of businesses?  What is it that can help to get you in the door?  To me, a lot of it has to do with their business signs.  Entering a business with a nice, custom made sign with brass letters gives you a positive feeling about the quality and stability of the business.  However you can make your business stand out during these tough economic times can mean the difference between success and failure.
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