The Great Depression evokes images of families waiting in bread lines blocks long, and not necessarily memories of many great business successes.
Nonetheless, there were survivors of those worst hard times. For business owners and patrons alike, we are reminded to heed those lessons learned by the survivors of the 1920s and 1930s era.
One such lesson, according to our own Denver Metro Small Business Development Center Counselor Jim Olp, may go against the instinct of businesses struggling today, but it’s a rule that is imperative to remember: “The moral of the story is: Contrary to what small businesses typically do, they should be maintaining or increasing their marketing dollars [in an economic downturn],” he said.
Statistics prove Olp correct.
Law Week Colorado reported in early February that a Roland S. Vaile study of 200 companies affected by the late-20s economic crisis found that those with the highest sales were those that advertised the most.
Research by McGraw Hill shows similar findings during the 1981-1982 crisis, in which advertising resulted in increased sales by an order of 275 percent by 1985.
Denver Metro SBDC counselors are now booked solid for weeks and months in advance. To meet the current needs of small business clients, the Denver Metro SBDC added a new marketing specialist to its ranks to help clients develop creative marketing strategies amid the downturn.
Olp encouraged businesses who even think they might struggle in the near future to seek help at the Denver Metro SBDC.
“Don’t wait until it’s too late,” he said, advising those entrepreneurial spirits, emblazoned with an “I can do it myself” attitude, to be willing to ask for help.
To contact a Denver Metro SBDC representative, go to: http://www.denversbdc.org.