Forging Through

Lessons (Hopefully) Learned Last Time Can Serve Us Well

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Doug Zanger Doug Zanger
In 2001, I was employed by Rose City Radio but still freelanced quite a bit. (This is a fairly common practice in the radio industry.) When things went south, everyone tightened up, but I managed to push through 2001 and 2002 pretty well. In fact, those years proved to be very fruitful despite obvious challenges.

Fast forward to today and it is clear that this is a fustercluck that is different on many levels. However, I'm finding that some of the disciplines that served me well during that time could be what helps us push through the muck this time around. It remains to be seen how this will all pan out, but these are some of the things we notice are working so far:

Leveraging Existing Relationships
It's vital to see how much we can squeeze out of every relationship we have. In every case, we're actively talking to clients about how we can help them through '08, but we're also talking to them about '09 and '10. By taking a longer-term view (which is a little different in the radio industry especially), clients can "feel" as though the end of this is in sight, and it gives them something to focus on outside of the day-to-day.

A Few Kisses Here and There
In many cases, we're willing to be flexible to help clients through tough times. This doesn't kill our business and it also shows that we're in it for the long haul. We're lucky that we have some good clients locked in right now, and it can't hurt to show them that we'll do whatever it takes (within reason) to ensure that they are taken care of well.

The Niche Thing
We're doing our best to carve out some niches that are valuable for clients. As we evolve, we're able to give them something of real value that can hopefully help their businesses/brands in a unique way. By targeting a couple of very specific areas, we are confident that we will help client break through without breaking their banks. By also giving the industry support, specifically as it relates to radio and audio, we will begin to see some opportunity to fatten up this niche.

Relentless Focus/Biz Dev
This may seem strange, but we've been too focused to think too much about the economy at this point. Sure, I have to watch the business much more closely than before, but I don't think it's beneficial for us to sacrifice our development efforts. A banged-up economy can screw up one's focus but we don't think it should get in the way of pursuing growth.

Some Balance and Optimism
Sure, this time just flat-out sucks. But it doesn't seem to do anyone any good if we're stressed 100% of the time. Hell, we just opened up a new space and layered a bunch of new costs on to our operation. But we had to do it. I figure that the die as been cast and there's no sense in second-guessing or thinking about it too much. It may also be a good time to re-read "Work to Live" by Joe Robinson again. An outside perspective is always good and some advice on keeping it all in check is even better.
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