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Fight That Lag Syndrome

You and your colleagues are working hard, noses to the grindstone, eyes on recovery and a return to growth. You hear the talk of a continuing bad economy, unemployment, projects on hold, budgets cut. But, is that what is really going on in your business? Have you ever noticed in previous business cycles things had changed-for the good or not-but you hadn’t acted accordingly? That’s the Lag Syndrome. We all fall prey to it. But, what can happen if you fight it-if you start seeing that things have changed before your competitors?

One strategy that has gotten a lot of play during the current economic downturn is the tendency for many companies to slash their marketing budgets. The opportunity all that cutting presents is for a company to seize the opportunity to stay visible and grab market share from competitors who are diving under the furniture and “playing the victim.”

This same strategy works when things are getting better but few competitors are acting like it. You fight the Lag Syndrome-in this case the belief that things really are not getting better-with facts derived from analyzing patterns, looking for gaps to fill and, most of all, talking to your customers. In fact, the best weapon to fight the Lag Syndrome is to be constantly scanning the market-your market, niches, segments and geography-for the opportunities to be better, different and active.

We have always known that races go to the swift. In fighting and coming out of this downturn, the races will go the swift and aware. Do surveys, attend industry events and talk with the vendors exhibiting, talk with other owners and CEOs and continually debrief all customer contact personnel for their views as to what is going on.