by Nancy Boisvert

    Oil Prices Cratered? It’s Déjà vu all over again!

    Yogi Berra is a well-known former baseball player and member of Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame. But he is also very well-known for his many malapropisms. Even those of us who aren’t baseball fans or are too young to have watched him play are familiar with many of these memorable phrases.

    One of his best known malapropisms, and one that is oft repeated by many of us, is in the title of this article. And this one is unquestionably applicable to the cycles of boom and bust that we are used to in the oil industry.

    We’re all a bit funny; it seems we have a somewhat limited recall of some of those experiences that were less than pleasant. And that can be a good thing. When things in the industry are good and things are moving forward, we are fully submerged in the momentum and roll with it, never quite sure how long it will last but enjoying the ride.

    But, like every industry, eventually this boom cycle cools down. Basic economic theory teaches that economies can’t exist in an environment of uncontrolled, never-ending growth. Every economy and every industry will eventually go through a cycle of contraction and control.

    And although this cooling off phase can hit us where it hurts, it’s not necessarily a bad thing in the bigger picture. It gives those of us directly involved in the industry a chance to catch our breath, regroup and plan for the future.

    Those who view the contraction with the most dread are inclined to be those who are the least prepared for change. These are the folks who have overextended themselves and have lost not just their equity but also their vision, and thus, value, in their business.

    Those who have planned their growth in a more deliberate manner tend to be better prepared to weather the storm and are more likely come out of it in a position to benefit from the deals that will always inevitably appear.

    The big question is, how do you make sure that you are a survivor? And, more importantly, how do you position yourself to take advantage of the emerging opportunities? Follow these 5 tips to help guide you in the right direction.

    1. Take stock of what you have. This includes people, materials, equipment, etc. Are you utilizing all of your assets to their full extent?

    2. Continue networking with others in your field. Perhaps there are some items that are bogging you down in your business that you can trade or sell to others who generally need the same items as you do.

    3. Do NOT stop marketing. Many businesses fall into the unfortunate trap of pulling back on, or discontinuing their marketing efforts when times get tough. Marketing is seen as an ‘option’. But if you stop marketing, you lose your business presence and have to start all over again once the economy improves. Rather than stopping your marketing, make more judicious choices, ensuring that you are getting the most out of your reduced marketing budget. This is likely a good time to look at hiring the expertise of a marketing professional who can point you in the right direction.

    4. Look for opportunities to create allegiances with those providing complementary services. We don’t need to tell you that word of mouth is, and always will be, a huge factor in obtaining business, due to the built-in element of trust. Strong alliances can help ensure that you are getting business that would most likely go to someone else.

    5. Stop listening to every analyst and economist offering their two-cents worth on what’s happening. Or at least, take it with a grain of salt. Just a few months ago, scores of economists were forecasting a price per barrel free-fall to less than $30 per barrel; in some cases, even as low as $20 per barrel. Well, that hasn’t happened, has it? And although we would all like a higher price than we are currently dealing with, relatively stability in the current market is better than what their dismal forecasts.

    We also all know that it is just a matter of time until this correction has run its course, the political obstacles are behind us, and the industry once again makes it’s adjustments and start to grow. While you’re waiting for this to happen, evaluate where you have been and where you want to be when the dust settles. Look straight ahead to the future and ensure you are marketing your business so you will be in a position to capitalize on the opportunities when they arise!

    Until next time…

    Are you ready to grow your business now? If you’re ready to take the next step and make your business more profitable, call me directly at 403-879-4297 or email me at admin@agapimarketing.com

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