My background in business for over 30 years has been in the financial services and investment sector, and dealing with the stock market I have always had customers calling me worried about the market.  They say, “You know, I don’t know what the president’s going to do. Or what about the economy? Or what about Europe?”  And I look back over the last 30 years, and I’ve seen a lot of things happen in that business.  I’ve seen the World Trade Center, I’ve seen recessions, I’ve seen some of the biggest stock market crashes, and still I always tell people this:

Stay the course.

“Staying the course” in business means that you leave your money alone, continue to invest, and don’t get emotional or panicked.  In tough times in the financial sector you are basically have three options:

  1. You can cash in and lock in your losses.
  2. You can hold the course, and over time it will come back—good businesses always emerge in bad times.  If you have your money broadly invested, you come out just fine.
  3. You can take advantage of the downside, purchase at a discount, and come out of the hard times even better than before.

The best choices are clear.

Nothing is different when it comes to investing money in marketing.  Marketing is first and foremost an investment, and over time marketing always returns.  If you take a look at any type of business that’s been highly successful, one thing we know as a fact is that they continue to market in good times and bad.  Try to remember if McDonald’s or Wal-Mart reduced their investment in marketing over the past few years, whether because of something the president said or if the payroll tax went up, etc.

I’ve heard from some customers and others businesses that they see a decrease in sales, “and it happened just when the payroll tax increase took effect!”  What I tell people is the same thing I’ve always said: stay the course.

As always the economy will make another favorable upturn, and it’s your business that will be in the front mind of the consumer.  So always think about spending money on marketing.  Take your money and invest it in marketing, pay attention to what’s working, and do it by the budget.  Set a budget aside in order to be able to invest in your business.  Do it consistently every month, and you’ll eventually find the “secret sauce” that causes you to win.

Stay the course.