3 Ways to Keep your Small Business from Becoming one of the Walking Dead

October 13, 2015

The Walking Dead’s new season premiered on Sunday and fans are already blowing up the internet talking about the latest adventures of TV’s favorite zombies and zombie killers.  But it’s not just humans that can turn into walkers, the same thing can happen to your small business if you fall asleep at the switch.  Zombie shows are popular, zombie businesses not so much.  They’re still there, but they’re not really living and definitely not growing. How can you make sure your business doesn’t become one of the undead?

1. Aim for the head and develop your 2016 marketing plan like you’re doing it for the first time.  Having a template of what you've done before is a great way to avoid duplicating work you don’t have to, until these old plans can become a crutch. Veteran zombie hunters know the best way to kill a zombie is to aim straight for the head, and your business needs to take the same approach to inject some new thinking.  Are you taking advantage of all the new communications platforms available to market your products and network your way to success?  Are you avoiding the top marketing and advertising watchouts? Do any of your marketing materials need a refresh?  Think about updated copy, images and even communications channels to re-invigorate your business heading into next year.

2. The best zombie defense is a good offense. Rick and his group know that sitting and waiting is a guaranteed way to make yourself into zombie bait.  No matter where you hole up, eventually the zombies will follow their instincts and seek out your sweet, sweet brains.  Your small business is no different. Just like Blockbuster stood by and watched as Netflix slowly, but surely, decimated their business model, the same thing could happen to you.  Think about your biggest competitors, or rising upstarts, and what they’re providing customers that your business can’t.  Are there new products or customer interface tactics you could be using to stay ahead of the competition?  Zombies never rest, so you shouldn't either.

3. Move fast and break things. Zombies hunters and Mark Zuckerberg have at least one thing in common – they understand the need to make quick decisions, keep their forward momentum and aren't worried about causing a bit of a mess. Once you see a zombie, you have to Kill It Now and you can’t worry about leaving stains on the carpet.  Small business owners need to try and act just as decisively.  If a new hires’ not working out after a couple weeks, it’s hard to image they’ll be much better after a couple months.  The same with a new product – the marketplace will tell you what works, and what doesn't – and there can be no sacred cows when it comes to pulling up stakes and moving on.  Sunk costs are just that and the time, energy and money you spend on things that aren't working will come at the expense of the thing that are.  Make quick decisions, stick with them and keep yourself one step ahead of the masses. Nobody wants to be a small business zombie and these tips can help you stay current and ahead of the competition.  Before you know it, you might even turn into a zombie killer yourself, picking off other businesses that let their attention slip and became part of the walking dead themselves.