It ain’t easy being lean

Regardless of age, most of us know who Kermit the Frog is–an American icon. (It says a lot about the US, since he is just a puppet after all, but that should be discussed somewhere else other than Biznology). Kermit once lamented that “It ain’t easy being green.” Well, today I can hear the SMB (small and medium business) market echoing poor Kermit’s sentiments with its own cry of “It ain’t easy being lean.”

Prior to our current economic woes, it was hard enough to get SMB’s to even discuss search marketing. It was the equivalent of asking your child if they would like to go to the dentist. After you get the sour look, you then hear the excuses.
None of them are legit, whether it’s a kid or a CEO. They both know in their hearts that it’s good for them, but for some reason they see only the pain and none of the gain. The kid sees the potential for having a filling or something that might hurt. The reality is that they don’t want to own up to the fact that they don’t brush their teeth like they should. Meanwhile, SMB CEOs see search marketing as an expense, and thus won’t do what is good for them. I suspect, too, that the good leaders of these small companies are afraid of the potential success of search and then having to be second guessed as to why it wasn’t done earlier.
A stretch? I admit that maybe it is, but I don’t think it is much of one, really. Until business owners stop viewing search marketing as an expense, rather than the investment it truly is, this excuse will be at the top of the list of roadblocks thrown up to stop from spending money. Honestly, I just don’t get it. Businesses are cutting back to survive. They have to do more work with less people. They have to run lean. I get that part. I don’t disagree with it. Here’s the not-so-nice part, though, that is just a business reality—the money that is saved on salaries and benefits of those employees that had to be let go represent the funds (that had been budgeted anyway) that can bring new revenue to the table.
Here’s the thing. SMB’s don’t have the luxury of time right now. None of us do. We can sit back and wait and wonder what will be next, but that will do nothing except ensure next month will be more of the same. The news is all about home foreclosures but what about small businesses closing their doors? If there is this continued fear of what COULD be next, I think we can all predict what WILL be next.

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