What"s In Your House?

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Today in church, I heard a message that really struck me.
It was the story of Elijah and the widower with her two sons.
Most of you are asking why church has anything to do with business and marketing.
As I listened to the sermon, I asked myself the same question.
I found this story unique because it struck me that this message has a great deal to do with our businesses.
In a nutshell, II Kings 4:1-7 is the story of the widower who was about to loose her two sons to the tax collector to become slaves.
She was left with nothing to pay her debts.
Elijah asks her "what do you have in your house?" The widower says she has oil.
Therefore, the story goes that Elijah asks her to go to all her neighbors and ask for all the jars she could get.
The woman did and as she started pouring the oil, it filled all of the jars she had collected until they were all used.
Elijah said to her to sell the oil and pay her debts.
The story was about looking inside your house to find what you need in order to get past your problems.
It also talks about going to your neighbors and asking for help.
So how does this relate to business and marketing? We all have something inside of us and "in our house".
Too often, we overlook some resources because we consider them insignificant.
We all have skills and resources that we need to use to our advantage in our personal lives and businesses.
As I was thinking about this story, I asked what was in my house.
Right now, the economy is in the toilet, business is slow for most everyone and every dollar a company has needs to be spent with the highest efficiency.
In order to survive, we need to either find the opportunities around us to save money or make money.
Too often, business owners look to cut marketing and advertising when times are hard.
Don't cut your advertising, it is like committing business harry carry.
Look "inside your house" to find other alternatives to cutting your marketing budgets.
Look at your current business, what do you have that is not being utilized which could be used to improve your business situation.
Instead of cutting your marketing budget, perhaps you can sell unused equipment.
You could also cross train your current employees to do other jobs instead of hiring new or temporary.
Look for low cost or no cost ideas to market your business.
Are your employees doing all they can to help promote your business? Talk with them and get their buy-in on promoting the company.
It keeps them in a job and helps you gain market position.
As the story goes, Elijah tells the widower to ask her neighbors for jars.
In the business world, I associate this asking other business owners or acquaintances for help.
Perhaps another business owner has a need for your skills and is willing to trade services.
This saves budgets and helps your business at the same time.
Our "neighbors" are willing to give, as are we when asked.
We all have something to give and the hope is we will receive in return.
Trading services can be a low cost or no cost way to get your business additional resources.
Our company, The Original Basket Boutique, trades out gift baskets for radio and newspaper advertising.
Trading our baskets serves our need for cheap marketing and the advertising medium's need for customer appreciation gifts.
What products or services do you have that can be traded? You can also trade or offer your skills and knowledge to businesses.
Maybe finance or marketing is your strength.
You can help other business owners some assistance in return for their services or goods.
Business owners across America are looking for ways to survey this economic downturn.
Our history has seen this before and in time, our economy will pull out of this and business will be good again for a while.
Our economy is cyclical and always has been.
In order to keep our businesses afloat during this time, we have to think outside the box and look for opportunities wherever they exist.
You don't have to be religious to appreciate this story.
It is more about helping those around you and finding help when you need it.
We all have resources that we have yet to tap.
You just need to figure out what those are.
Look inside "your house" and you will find opportunities and resources you never knew existed or have overlooked.
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