In honor of the conclusion of the NBA Finals and the fact that we are rapidly approaching the end of the “first half” of 2009, I thought it only fitting to dedicate a post to closing out the year strong (not a Lakers fan, but they DID close strong).

If the first half of the year has been a difficult one for your firm, you’re not alone.  But, it’s time to get to the locker room and evaluate where things have gone wrong and where they can improve for the second half.  Here are a few topics to cover during the locker room debrief.
The Game Is NOT Over!
This recent stimulus article from Architectural Record breathes a little life back into the situation. There is plenty of opportunity still knocking, but it might not come from the same avenues that your firm is used to.  However, you and your marketing team have to make a change between the first half and the second half if you want to see a difference in the firm’s bottom line.
Evaluate Your Game Plan
What do you change?  Take a close look at your marketing plan for the year.  Put all pride of ownership aside and evaluate which efforts have worked and which ones haven’t.  For example, just because your firm doesn’t have a large advertising budget, doesn’t mean you didn’t waste a lot of money from January to June.  Are you going after projects that are outside of your traditional target market?  If you’re winning that work, change your marketing plan for the remainder of the year to include more focus on what you’re winning.  If you’re losing that work, stop chasing it!  You probably had a reason for defining your target markets in the first place.
Go To Your Bench
Teams need strong leadership, no question.  Great leaders know when to rely on the strength of the rest of the team though.  Look to some of your stronger role players for skill sets that your firm may be able to market in a different way.  In the example from the AR article, interiors may typically be just a piece of larger projects for your firm, but in the second half, it may be worth it to market those services on their own to drive smaller and quicker turnaround projects for your design firm.
With or without the sports analogies, every company needs a pause at this midway point through the year to make swift and strategic marketing decisions.  2009 is far from over and with some major and/or minor adjustments, firms still have the opportunity to finish in the black.