You can’t cut your way to growth. For instance, if you were down to your very last dollar, what would be the best strategy to survive financially? Should you spend as little as possible to make that dollar last longer? No, because you’ll live like a pauper and eventually wind up with nothing. Instead, it’s wiser to invest your last dollar in a way that creates more dollars.
The problem is that investing carries a form of risk. It’s hard to part with a dollar when you’re not sure if you’ll get it back. This belief causes a lot of people to sit on their dollars in order to avoid risk. They would rather protect their dollar, pinch pennies, and wring as much out of what remains as possible. The focus is on what you’ve got, rather than what could be. Some call this condition being myopic. But, is maintaining what you’ve got really the safest strategy?
Let’s use an example from popular culture, such as “Extreme Couponing.” On this TV program, people exhibit an intense focus on using coupons to save money on groceries and household purchases. For instance, I saw an episode where a woman used an elaborate coupon strategy to pay less than $10 to take home over $400 worth of groceries.
While some people laud her cost-cutting efforts as a success, I call it a waste of intelligence. She spent a ton of time just to save a measly $380. She could have easily used her same initiative, drive, and creativity to get a better job or create a profitable home-based business that generated thousands of additional dollars in income. (I’ve consulted with a stay-at-home mom author who made over $100,000 from one self-published e-book!)
Nobody brags about how fast their car will stop. Instead, people brag about their car’s top speed. That’s because the purpose of a car is to move – not stand still. Likewise, the purpose of money (and marketing) is to create growth. Money is the means to the end, not the end itself.
Similarly, the essential idea of marketing is based on the desire to grow a business and spread a message. Marketing isn’t about neutrality or maintaining the status quo. However, one reason why so many individuals and organizations struggle to succeed in marketing is because they think like a coupon-clipper. They focus most of their efforts on saving money, rather than making money. They only try inexpensive ideas. They’re hesitant to invest in learning new skills. They’re afraid to try new promotional activities. Marketing is viewed as a risk, rather than an opportunity. In order to grow, though, you need to do the opposite. Concentrate on making money, rather than saving money.
Don’t allow a coupon-clipping mentality to kill your marketing or your lifestyle. Use your money to invest in opportunities that can reap a return larger than what you put into it. You can clip coupons from a newspaper, but I haven’t seen a bank yet that will let you deposit them into your account.