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a blog by Chris Barrow

Why I'm taking part in the recession (and why you need to)

Bear with me - this post starts bad - but it gets better.

This will be the 7th recession during my lifetime.

We have survived them all and we will survive this one.

However, this one actually IS different on a number of counts - and that's why burying your head in the sand or "choosing to not take part" isn't going to get you through.

Let me explain why it's different this time and why I'm taking part in the recession and asking my clients to join me:


If you take a look at the history of all known recessions (and the records go back to The Great Slump from c.1430 to 1490), you'll discover that the normal rate of reduction in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is around 2% per quarter.

In 1919, at the start of The Great Depression that lasted until 1926, GDP reduced by 10.9% in the first year - that was a record for the 20th Century.

During 2020 (The Coronavirus Recession), GDP reduced by 2.2% in Q1 and 20.4% in Q2 - that's the biggest single drop in recorded history.


Research indicates that every 20th Century recession after 1930 lasted an average of 36 to 48 months (National Institute of Economic and Social Research).


During The Great Depression the unlucky population also experienced Spanish Flu, which took 228,000 British lives. That recession lasted for 7 years.


The Guardian newspaper reports (this morning) that Household finances in UK weaken as jobs gloom takes hold

The Good News

I realise that, if you have read so far, you may be reaching for a breakfast martini - sorry about that.

My intention is not scaremongering - quite the opposite.

I want you to sit up and take notice of the fact that this period of time requires a very focused approach to your marketing.

You CANNOT tell me that you are too busy seeing patients (in the post-lockdown catch up phase) to listen to the marketers.

You can succeed in the business of dentistry during the deepest recession we have ever known - but only if you follow some simple rules:

Things you must NOT do

  • Panic

  • Reduce prices

  • Offer discounts

  • Throw money at random advertising

  • Try and be all things to all people

  • Increase debt (unless you can identify the ROI)

  • Talk about products and services

  • Leave your marketing plan in Quadrant II of the time management matrix (Important but Not Urgent)

Things you MUST do

  • Stay very calm

  • Be confident about your prices

  • Add value to your offer

  • Focus on internal marketing

  • Focus on niche groups of potential new patients

  • Generate extra cash flow

  • Talk about outcomes and trigger events

  • Bring your marketing plan into Quadrant I (Important and Urgent)

From 1st September, I'm adding two new and extra support services for my clients in The Extreme Business Regeneration Programme (and at no extra charge):

  1. A weekly live training session for Associates;

  2. A weekly live training session for Marketing Managers & TCOs

In a recession the haystack gets bigger and the needles get smaller and harder to find - but they are still there.

In a recession we actually do have to work smarter and harder.

I'm determined to help my clients tackle this recession head on - not to deny its existence but to do battle.

We are all going to need to get our hands dirty - get ready for work.

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