I recently went to a networking event where it turned out the majority of attendants were middle aged unemployed people. I heard story after story of people who had worked at the same company for years, were laid off and have since not been able to find jobs.
One woman told me that a few months ago she was offered a job at half her previous salary. She scoffed at the idea and refused the opportunity. Now, she told me she’s kicking herself because that job was ONLY half salary and everything since has been even less.
I heard many tales of people trying to start new businesses in photography, travel, and even house sitting.
This current down economy encourages creativity. If you’ve lost your job and you want to work, then you need to figure out a way to work. It’s pretty Zen-like in its simplicity.
This is when some pretty extraordinary ideas are going to be birthed.
However, in order for those ideas to get off the ground they have to be tested against just a little bit of reality. People don’t have a lot of money right now (it’s kinda the reason there aren’t any jobs). They are not going to be taking luxury cruises or paying tons for their pets to be photographed.
If they spend any money, you can be darn sure that they are going to want their proverbial money’s worth.
In order to start a business or an idea that generates money it comes down to two things. You have to provide:
Not only do you have to provide this, but you have to convince your audience that they have fully received these. (McDonald’s hits you over the head with this concept by offering the “Value Menu”)
Advertising a tour through local towns where you eat at different restaurants may not get a lot of bites, but holding a workshop where local chefs come in to teach people how to make some of the dishes just might. Not only are the participants entertained but they leave with the benefit of a new skill.
Case in point, Jamie Oliver, a British chef, is doing that right now with his new TV show. He is teaching nutrition and cooking skills to a southern town but is in reality teaching this skill to all of America. He’s not advertising any product in the show, he is simply exposing and instructing.
Guess whose 35 dollar cookbooks are flying off of the bookstore shelves?
From a business point of view, the man is a genius. Even families where money is very tight right now are buying these cookbooks.
Because Oliver is giving his audience value and new skills. He is teaching people how to cook using healthy food. He ties his message in with health benefits and the welfare of our children.
He is teaching his audience how to fish, ah and there’s both the value and the benefit.
There is money out there, there are even jobs out there, and there is certainly opportunity. But if you think you can provide a service that will make you rich quick forget it, you might as well pack it in right now. Right now it's not about you.
Instead, if you can provide a service that will give your clients value for their money and undeniable benefit, then you’ve got a fighting chance.