4 Uncomfortable Truths About Doing Business In 2012

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When I sat down to put my realizations, my “ah-ha” moment about some major changes going on in the business environment into words, I thought to myself, this might be too basic and obvious information for the EJ audience.

I will suspend doubt and elaborate my insights for people who may understand these ideas theoretically, yet run away from the truth and how these changing concepts impact your business.

Realization #1: It’s Never Going To Be The Same Again

Yesterday I checked my inbox and saw several emails, three of which were from Groupon, Local Deals and one other deals website. I am not a Groupon-type daily deals guy, but I signed up to learn from them since I was working on a similar project.

As I opened one of those emails, I realized that Black Friday, was coming close, and wondered if there were sweeter deals on top of the daily deals out there.

Then the lightening struck.

With Groupon-like websites becoming a norm, people are conditioned to pay lower prices for the same quality products. With time sensitive deals, people make decisions faster, if they want to buy something or not. When people would go grocery shopping, they would cut out and take coupons with them to save a buck or two. Now with deals coming to our smartphones via email/sms, we expect to have deals available on products we want to buy. (Keyword: expectations.)

First rule of economics, there is always a limited amount of resources! Gates, Buffet, Zuckerberg and you, all have a set limited amount of money (a resource) in your bank account. Everything (but God) has a limit.

Given that, most of us have been in a buying mode all year round with daily deals emails, I wonder how much people collectively spend on a Black Friday sale?

From this realization, I went into a butterfly effect, thinking that this is more than just buying patterns at work…

Realization #2: We Love Buying, But We Hate Being Sold To

I am currently working with a 100 year old publishing company with 28 B-to-B magazine titles.

This company is making a shift into new media, which is where I come into play. I hear stories of sales people working here complaining that in the good ol days, they would sell 200 ad pages at ridiculously high prices, where today they are considered literally lucky to get 20 ad pages.

The sad part is that these sales people still do not realize that the world is changing. I spoke with one of the guys and he told me that his 23 year old daughter wants to become a sales person for a media company as well. WHAT?????

Didn’t daddy tell the little girl that daddy made that money in different times, and that time will NEVER EVER come again.

Media will not be sold by sales people (in five years). Period. It will be bought by marketers based on data/metrics recorded and provided by the media company and verified by a third party.

Wink Wink…there’s a clue in there (verified by third party).

I am not that old, I am 23, and just recently realized that the world has had its few dents in the last five years. The speed of such dents hitting us is becoming faster.

I am the kind of person who sticks with what works and becomes blindly loyal and bias towards those things that worked for me. Don’t laugh and please don’t just read. Realize that maybe I also described you. Believe me, we humans hate change.

Remember that lightening that started the butterfly effect? That also made me realize that every day I am not experimenting or discovering what is new, I am becoming obsolete, less relevant, less competitive, less efficient.

I made a mental note to revisit my “Proven ideas”, and question them every time I start or develop a project. The same old “Proven ideas” might be irrelevant today. That’s harsh – I hate it. I spent all this time perfecting things and they might not work again – What the BLEEP.

“Life is hard”, he retorted “compared to what”
– Peter Bevelin

Realization #3: There Are Bad Ideas!

It was noon and I was working on a consulting project with a company (small office setting on the 2nd floor of a commercial building), when two ladies (in their mid 30s) came knocking on the door.

Not threatened by the smiley faces, the owner of the company opened the glass door and inquired what was it that they wanted.

These ladies were entrepreneurs launching a new local yellow pages book and offered to sell a listing. Overly optimistic that their product had a new spin, it was local, they were still nervous doing door-to-door selling. These women were politely told that the offer was not something that the owner was interested in, the women left promising to come back and check again.

That was it, that was the story. Lesson! THERE ARE BAD IDEAS.

Who in this holy world with an Internet connection, still searches a yellow book to find a product/service?

Google search has changed how we shop, research, decide (and advertise as marketers). No matter how persistent and committed you are, this “LOCAL” yellow book will fail. In hindsight, I should have walked over to these women and shook them to reality.

Realization #4: I Have To Become More Human To The World

As a student of direct marketing, a well known marketer (arguably the best direct marketer alive today) convinced us to assume a fake personality. He taught us to show the world that we are difficult to meet, that our time was literally worth money.

Internet marketers teach us to mold the truth, to convey how our products are the best things since sliced bread. They convinced us to tell the incomplete story and tell the “I have a secret formula” story.

Convinced by my guru’s, I hired a personal assistant to reply to my customer emails. I became narrow minded and thought that my customers didn’t get it when they emailed me questions. But in fact, I didn’t get it.

Result? I lost touch with my customers. My following grew since my content was relevant and cutting-edge, but my customer service sucked! I was pushing away customers with my own hands..

This incomplete story won’t work for us today. We can no longer hide in our offices, ignoring our real customers who connect with us via the web.

More Realizations Coming Up Next

My butterfly effect thought train did not end at Realization #4. I have more to share.

Next I will reveal my personal inspirations – people who I look up to. I will also tell you about some of my latest projects, what I am experimenting with and why I am doing it.

Until then Aziz Ali signing out.

About Aziz Ali

Aziz is an internationally acclaimed marketing whizkid and most commonly called a genius by his fan-base. Always working in the trenches, Aziz knows how to optimize marketing systems to produce exponential results as he did for several billion dollar companies and popular Internet Marketing Gurus.

Aziz is currently giving away two [2] tools & nine [9] strategies that has helped all of his clients find customers online EASILY!
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15 Comments

  • Hey Aziz
    Very interesting post. Change makes the world “go round” but it’s difficult to keep up with and even more difficult for most of us to accept
    Thanks
    Mark

    • Interesting post. For those of us on the Internet, the landscape is completely different from what it was just in the recent few/past years. Online entrepreneurs are going to constantly have to think how to differentiate themselves and what to offer to the market given the low barrier of entry hence the amount of competition

      • Mark and Sunil, first of all, I am really glad that you liked my post. The way I now approach change is by getting ahead of it. I think we need to listen others but also question them very heavily. For instance, if an IM Guru comes out and gives us another MAGIC BULLET, we need to question the MAGIC BULLET and analyse why it will or will not work.

        I usually think in terms of human psychology and what works for humans (which will actually always work for humans. It is the way we are wired)

  • I have to play devils advocate here and disagree with certain things! Black Friday was HUGE for me. It is the time of year where people ARE LOOKING TO SPEND, so they come to you credit card in tow. They want to spend, they don’t need to be convinced first. What Black Friday and CyberMonday has done is to extend that buying habit for us Online Marketers. Those marketers not taking advantage of these dates is missing out big time.

    I believe your other points are very personal to how you will change in 2012, as they are perhaps widely accepted as business learnings for many years. For me however, the real change is this:

    The barriers to entry with online marketing are getting lower and lower. 2012 will seeing the greatest rise with new Online Marketers, meaning unless you differentiate yourself well, you will just become one of the crowd…. that will be the difference between making money and making peanuts.

    No disrespect meant with this Aziz – just presenting a alternative view/response.

    • Dee, love it that you are questioning things. ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT.

      I never said that we should not put out sales on Black Friday, we are accustomed to look for deals and get in buying mode on Black Fridays TRUE. BUT the point is that we will evaluate deals more consciously since we are being offered crazy deals all year around. Its a habitual analysis that I made.

      As per your second paragraph, Yes that is 100% My own realization, and having a unique selling proposition/being different is of course important in all business propositions NOT only the IM space.

  • Raj

    Would small things like how business would change matter anymore if what is predicted for 2012 becomes true? That reinforces into us, another of Job’s favorite philosophies – Live as if today is the last day of your life! :)

  • Hi Aziz,
    A willingness to change once things have changed, is the key to taking advantage of change.Change could either be revolutionary-something totally different from what has been or evolutionary-a refinement of has been. Change is one thing that is constant.

  • Hi Aziz,
    Nicely done post I would say. I do, and as a matter fact there are many people out there who have similar realizations as yours. I agree that the only thing that remains unchanged is change itself. If we try to follow what was practiced 20 or 30 years ago we will not only lose but will be considered idiots in the market.
    We have to accept the change and get in step with it with a second thought.

  • Hi Aziz,

    Interesting post. i agree with you, that the marketing world is in changing. What worked a couple years ago, doesn’t mean that works in nowadays. The Yellow pages definitely not. For example in our stair house is couple sample of yellow pages and nobody (including me) pick up.

    • Martin, Stella and Sharon,

      I believe all of us understand the importance of change, and I just want to point one thing out. Its also very important to question things that people propose to us ALL the time. and evaluate everything.

      My realizations came from evaluation not from anything else.

  • Realization #4 is so true. At one time I was a big fan of the “big” IM guru’s until I realized that they were either lying or not telling the whole truth. I got sick of it. I prefer reading info from those that have real personality, have tried and failed, and aren’t afraid to talk about it. IM bloggers that are real with their readers and customers are a much better way to spend my time/money.

  • I see these things as challenges, I take them head on and try to work around it or just crush it. Of course there are some things you can’t get around but things are always changing, it’s what you do about it that will make you successful in 2012.

  • ‘We Love Buying, But We Hate Being Sold To’ … Very true!

  • Great post. Relevant and true. I agree that change happens constantly and at a rate that only some of us can catch up to. Flexibility is the name of the game.

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