“How To Prepare For The Great Recovery” Discussed by Lawrimore on WFAE’s “Charlotte Talks”

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – “How To Prepare For The Great Recovery” was the topic of Mike Collins’ “Charlotte Talks” on WFAE Thursday, Dec. 10. Buck Lawrimore, president of Lawrimore Communications Inc. (www.Lciweb.com), spoke on how small businesses especially can prepare for and take advantage of the coming recovery.

Other panel participants were Dr. John Connaughton, UNC Charlotte economist, and David Swenson, Vice President of the Charlotte Regional Partnership. WFAE operates at 90.7 FM.

“Small businesses in the Charlotte Region appear to vary widely in their current state of financial health based on the market sectors they serve,” Lawrimore said. “Those fortunate enough to serve health care, government, energy and other strong sectors of the economy appear to be doing fairly well, and some have not seen any drop in sales. Those who serve cyclical market sectors like real estate are really suffering. This is especially true of architects. One estimate is that over 40% of Charlotte area architects have no work at this time. Other architects that specialize in serving health care, government and education markets are doing much better.

“Certainly the Great Recession will be followed by the Great Recovery in the next few years,” he continued. “Those companies fortunate enough to survive the Recession and wanting to take advantage of the Recovery should consider guides for action like the following:

-“Keep your name out in the marketplace so when customers come looking for a provider, they can find you fairly easily. The two most cost-effective ways to do this are through internet marketing and public relations.”

-“The internet is the ultimate marketing tool because it is so inexpensive. It is absolutely essential to have a website that is search engine optimized so that people can find your business on the internet. I am here today, and practically all the new business my firm is receiving as the Recovery begins, is because our website is highly search engine optimized.”

-“Consequently we are finding a lot of companies that had unoptimized websites are coming to us to rebuild their websites so they are highly optimized. It used to be that a website was not essential for doing business, but now it is. Likewise the time is coming where businesses realize that an optimized website is essential. Google, Yahoo and Bing will deliver you all the business you need if you are not locked into a depressed market like commercial real estate.”

-“What is so important about search engine marketing is that, unlike many other forms of marketing, the potential customer is in the hunt when he or she goes online to look for a provider. If you use advertising, direct mail, or many other forms of marketing, most of the people you reach, sometimes at great expense, have no interest in your products or services. But when people are using a search engine, they are searching for a solution. So you need to be sure your solution can be found on the first page of search engine results.”

Lawrimore pointed out, “A related very cost-effective way to prepare for the Recovery is to get more and more information about your business out on the web. Increasingly companies are realizing that they don’t have to depend on traditional media like newspapers, commercial radio or TV to reach their target markets. They can broadcast their news stories across the Internet. So when potential customers come searching, the chances of them finding a story about a new supplier might be even greater than finding their website. Of course the right kind of Internet PR story will contain links back to the website. This is also another way to increase search engine rankings.

“Another way to prepare for the Recovery is with updated strategic planning. Traditional strategic planning tends to be a failure because it assumes the company has control over many external variables which it does not have. New forms of strategic planning, what we call dynamic strategic planning, places a lot of emphasis on monitoring and adapting to the constantly changing market environment. Instead of being internally driven, the new form of dynamic strategic planning is more market driven. Having a dynamic plan will help any company think creatively about the markets they have served, the markets they could serve, what sort of signals or indicators to watch in terms of new market opportunities, and much more. Involving the whole company, not just the management team, in this kind of process can lead to all sorts of innovations and increased energy, positive attitudes toward positive change which is coming.”

Lawrimore Communications Inc. is a full-service marketing and strategic consulting firm based in Charlotte since 1979. The company provides internet and traditional marketing, public relations, web design, advertising, graphic design, strategic planning and related services. The company has conducted surveys of the attitudes and needs of small businesses in the Charlotte Region for Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte’s Economic Development Office.

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[For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Buck Lawrimore at 704-332-4344 or email Buck (at) Lciweb.com]

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