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Remembering Y2K – Lessons Learned In The Past 10 Years

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: V...
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Business-Building Action From Terry Brock

I’ve been writing these columns for quite a while. I remember 10 years ago this month the world was in a frenetic tizzy (technical term!) about the Y2K or Year 2000 problems. Many thought the world was going to (literally) come to an end. Many thought all computers would crash, stoplights would cease operating and pandemonium would reign over the planet.

I remember writing a column where I said, don’t worry. If we made it through disco in the 70s, we’ll make it through this. Well, we got through disco (and Nixon, Ford and Carter!) in the 70’s and survived. We also made it through the Y2K scare as many of the “chicken little” shamelessly stole away to hide under the reality of the Earth still here with hardly any noticeable change.

Of course, many said it was because they made the necessary adjustments that we survived. Well, I’m not an IT expert so I can’t speculate with any certainty about what would have happened. What I can say as a marketer is that many people needlessly worried about something that didn’t happen.

The past 10 years have seen tragedies and calamities that we could not have imagined in 1999. From the economic recession in the early 2000’s to today’s Great Recession we have gone through a lot. We still remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001 and are still paying the price for that.

So what is the message to you and me as small business owners today? What lessons can we learn that will help us as we face the 2nd decade of the 21st Century?

Here are a few lessons that come to mind for me. See if you can relate:

Don’t Be Alarmed. Be Prepared. The wise approach to Y2K was to take necessary precautions and reasonable steps to make sure you didn’t have a loss of all data. In addition to that the more-important advice was to remain calm. Those who were extreme alarmists had to hang their head in shame because things really didn’t get that bad. For the future, we are going to face uncertain times. Duh! We always have through history! However, by being prepared for whatever is going to happen — and remaining calm — you are in a much better position to face the future.

Focus On Customers. This is truer today than ever. Help customers and prospects with their pain and you’ll help yourself. Focus on how you can help others relieve their pain and you’ll have a great opportunity to address your own.

Become More Skeptical. Yes, I believe we should question authority and be skeptical of all the claims of disaster of the moment. By being skeptical, not cynical, we force our brains to search for better alternatives and answers. It is the American way to question authority and demand straight talking and straight thinking. In times like these we need that more than ever! One of my heroes, H.L. Mencken said it well when he reminded us, The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

Live Your Life To The Fullest. No matter what happens in the big picture, the successful are those who have the best skills, the right kind of knowledge and can apply it in ways that are valuable to others. Constantly upgrade your market-valuable skills. Learn how to serve others and you’ll live your life to the fullest.

Today we have a host of new problems. I guarantee you (yes, I can make this kind of claim) that there will be problems in the future. However, I can also point to history that certain people survived and prospered when they applied the right principles for living.

These principles of character, discipline, genuine care for others, keeping your word, going the extra mile and others will serve you not only for the next 10 years but for the rest of our lives.

Special: Be sure to listen to the accompanying audio file below! 5:33 in length it is a great way to get more information and listen on your MP3 player of choice. You can listen to it in streaming audio or download as MP3 to listen on your favorite player.

Copyright © 2009, Terry Brock and Achievement Systems, Inc. Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and professional speaker who helps businesses generate profitable results. He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] or through his website at www.terrybrock.com. Join the Twitter adventure with Terry through his Twitter address: TerryBrock

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