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When Times Get Tough, Invest

Why scaling back your budget can hurt the future of your brand.

We are conditioned to think that when things get tough, the best move is to scale back. We are also conditioned to believe that if you are not growing, you are dying.

Both ideas, in my opinion, are wrongheaded.

Usually, the second idea creates a need to scale back the budget. Sales get turbulent, budgets get slashed.

In 2008, amidst one of the toughest economic conditions of our lives, businesses slashed budgets, made layoffs, bunkered down and tried everything to capture the revenues that would change the narrative. Many businesses established prior to 2008 couldn’t find a pathway to success because the climb was too steep. Profits of yesterday dwindled. Pressures climbed. Budgets were chopped like wood.

For our business, the roller-coaster was our opportunity. 

You see, our business was founded in 2008 — with nothing. “With nothing” meant our narrative was somewhat different. Every time we hustled to capture the attention of another brand and offer them a solution at a fraction of the costs they were spending, we won — and they won.

We grew. Not by leaps about bounds, but our story was on the up, not battling a falsity or asterisks in our P&L. $100 over the previous month was still up, while other brands were seeing $100 down and felt the sky was falling.

We continued to press the pedal on the climb, with nothing to lose, coming from nothing.

And we started to grow. And hire.

As we climbed, we were able to endure the turbulence.

Now, our business is in a different position today.  And the world is as turbulent as ever. But the mindset has been trained to understand that when others stop spending, we spend, we market, we clarify our vision, and we hire.

While we still have to be mindful of the P&L, we do have an opportunity to be strong with our spending on calculated marketing decisions.

When the going gets tough, spend. Don’t quit. Quitting makes it a lot harder to start over again.

It will be uncomfortable, but winning is never easy. If you want to win the year, consider this mindset.