Many businesses have been losing money or experiencing shrinking profits for several years, reinvesting from their boom years and waiting for the economy to recover. If you’ve been focused on reducing costs, trying harder than ever to make more sales and waiting for this economy to recover, you’re in for a harsh awakening. If you’ve been saying, “We just need to hold on until the economy recovers”…Stop!  You are suffering from normalcy bias. You believe because what you’re experiencing hasn’t happen before it can’t be happening, so if you can just dig in, hold on and wait for what has become your normal to return it will all be OK, you’ll make it. Every great civilization that has come to an end experienced these same conditions, emotions and challenges. Now it’s our turn, and since it’s a global economy it’s a global issue. It’s a business leadership crisis that has to be faced and won, not just to succeed in the ‘new economy’ but to exist.

If the first step in recovery is acceptance, accept this…We are not in a recession, we are not in a downturn. We are in the GREAT TRANSITION to a ‘NEW ECONOMY’!  Business will not be done successfully as it was in the past…things won’t just return to the good old days because they always have. The old economic models are broken beyond repair and that’s actually a good thing. The past economic model was too selfish, served too few and didn’t provide enough value to people. The past economic model broke too mant natural laws. It didn’t celebrated money as the end result, instead of as a means to serve people. It focused on maximizing profits by using people by manipulation and marketing campaigns instead of marketing the real value a company provided people.

While most companies proclaim thier greatest asset is people, their people, both employees and consumers experience the effects of companies ‘profit first lesadership’ which focuses on new sales, not employee satisfaction and customer loyalty and in the end the relationship that builds a business has become so dysfunctional it ended the old economic model. Consumer and employee loyalty has diminished over the past 30 years until it’s non-existant and  yet we see businesses trying to get back to the basics today…the same old tired basics that destroys trust, confidence and relationships betweens buyers and sellers. In addition since all employees are buyers too, they start with the sense that their company doesn’t care about them or their customers just making a profit. Add these poor business intentions to a maturing growing global economy, changing demographics and the real .com boom, or use of the internet to communicate and do commerce and you have the perfect economic storm. There is hope…Every storm brings with it a new dawn, a new day and opportunity to rebuild.

The great news is there’s tremendous opportunity for businesses to separate themselves and become successful in the ‘new economy’ by becoming ‘customer first companies’. Focusing on making customers instead of making new sales and putting people before profits. This is the best way to increase sales, revenue, profits. Then a company can grow and prosper by continuing to provide real value to their employees and customers. To become a ‘customer first company’ and be successful in the ‘new economy’ requires ’employee first leadership’. This transition isn’t an easy one but it is the best and fastest solution if a business wants to succeed today!

Business leadership is one thing America has stay out front of and been innovators and leaders in…Today we are faced with the decision to change or perish…Our business leadership must change to become ‘people first’ less selfish and more focused on creating real sustainable value by enriching people’s lives. Without this transition companies and the economy will continue to spiral downward and the growing gap between the have’s and have not’s will widen until it destroys the economy completely. It’s really a core capitalist point of view that’s been lost…If you want to succeed, you have to help others succeed, not just profit from them or use them. This isn’t just a business crisis either, what we now deem the ‘American Way of Life’ is doomed and we are destined to be the next great civilization that perishes if we don’t take action to make a successful transition by shifting to new business intentions. Businesses can no longer attempt to market a great story and then deliver an average buying and more importantly ownership experience. In the ‘new economy’ the most powerful marketing messages will written and spread by our customers and if their ownership experience is average your marketing message will be average, nonexistent or negative. If you truly put the ‘customer first’ you can market this and it will grow virally as a positive perfect storm.

In 1954 Peter Drucker said, “The purpose of business was to create a customer.” This has never been more true, needed or obvious than it is today!

It’s time to get real, be honest and become trustworthy!  A successful ‘new economy’ demands that leaders and companies trust and respect employees and the consumer!  I didn’t say, make them “always right”, which was foolish and didn’t work! That was part of the old selfish economic philosophy of making sales and then doing whatever the customer wants to make them happy…All that did was drive up the cost of doing business. Oh, and you can’t just rename your customer service department, customer retention or customer care…that won’t get it done because the consumer never gets over the first impression that you just wanmted to sell them something. It’s all just customer service after the sale and it didn’t make customers and it won’t make your ‘new economy’  successful.

Companies have to be in this with the consumer to make them customers. Stop trying to sell to people and start doing business with people. This actually holds the consumer responsible as well and asks them to participate in their own satisfaction and loyalty. A successful company in the ‘new economy’ isn’t at war with the competition or the consumer but stays focused on finding their place of service and how best to enrich people lives by doing what’s best for their employees and customers.

A successful ‘new economy’ will be built one customer at a time and must start by making them a customer, not a sale. Customer service starts at hello and is your consumers buying journey in the ‘new economy’!

Customers are advocates for your business, they market your business, they are repeat buyers and they bring new customers to your business. Sales come and go, while customers stay and pay. If you want customers, then start with that in mind, make that the focus of your company. Stop try to sell people, it doesn’t work anyway!  Start by trying to make people a customer and that starts by caring about your employees and putting people before profits to drive more  profits to serve more people.  You’ll increase sales immediately by making customers and you’ll make customers with new intentions to help, serve and to do what’s best for them…No I didn’t say whatever they want…That doesn’t work. In fact, it’s made things worse and added to the dysfunctional relationship between companies, salespeople and consumers that exists today.

Filled and focused with new intentions, a new engagement and dialogue with consumers will happen that will create a healthy relationship and generate customers which increases sales. When you make customers, your employees will be motivated, your marketing message will be strong and your business will grow. This is the foundation for a successful ‘new economy’!

By Mike Moore

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