From: North of Jewfish Creek
Friend & Subscriber,
We've got a terrible recession on our hands.
politicians are lying about it and the media is too blind to
see it. However, consumers know. They know it in their
guts and they're running scared. They're tightening up the
purse strings like a pit bull with lockjaw. Almost every
person I know says business is down. Way down. In my
case, I've got direct mail promos and space ads that, a short
time ago were working like crazy. But now, they're just
limping along and sometimes, even losing money.
of the time, this is a very positive "pump up" kind of
newsletter bubbling over with enthusiasm and "you can do it"
attitude. I don't intend to change that. Also, this letter
usually gives very specific instructions on how to create
tricky and profitable "marketing miracles." I don't intend to
change that either. But, in this issue, because of the
economic situation in the U.S., I simply want to give you a
guide to some things to think about. Things that can
give you an "edge" during today's tough times. So, get
yourself a cold drink, settle down in a comfy chair and tell
the folks around you not to disturb you so you can peruse...
GARY'S GUIDE TO THINGS TO
THINK ABOUT WHEN TIMES GET TOUGH!
|| Think About Quitting!
was teaching at a Jay Abraham seminar when a certain man and
his partners came to the stage for their "hot seat."
They were in the business of building and selling
single-family homes in a suburban town on the outskirts of
Chicago. Unfortunately, Sears was the biggest employer in the
town and Sears was pulling out. Therefore, 70% of all homes in
that town were up for sale and there were no buyers. I
told these people... their game was over. They had to
go into another business or move their existing business to
left the seminar. They said they didn't travel 2,000 miles and
pay thousands of dollars to hear some dork tell them it was
time to fold their tents.
were stupid. Look, part of the wisdom you get from experience
is knowing when to quit, knowing when something has run its
course and is finished. Failure to recognize this can be very
costly. Think about the so-called "farm problem" in the U.S.
You know what the "farm problem" really is? It's simply we
don't need so many farmers anymore. The big farms are so
productive and so efficient the little farms aren't needed.
"But we want to preserve our way of life," cry the small farm
owners. "We've got our pride," they say.
Pride? What kind of human being takes pride in insisting we
pay him for not producing?
Preserve a way of life? One that's not viable anymore? Well
hey, what about all those buggy whip manufacturers driven out
of business by the automobile? Should we have subsidized
them? What about all those typewriter repairmen who,
because of PC's and word processors, don't have any
typewriters to repair anymore? Should we subsidize them too?
So they can preserve "their way of life"? To put a twist on
what philosopher Yogi Berra used to say, Guru Gary says...
It's Over, It's Over!
it's hard. I know that. But when a love affair has gone
irretrievably bad, when a business is no longer viable, when
your space ads and direct mail letters stop working then...
think about quitting, cutting your losses and getting into
Imagine an albino dwarf who desires to play pro basketball.
Imagine Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Norman Vincent Peale and
every other preacher of positive thinking giving him
encouragement. "Think positive!" they shout. "Never give up!"
"You can do it!" "Handicaps are nothing but opportunities in
so, for 20 years, this poor little guy shoots baskets for 10
hours per day and then... he goes to try out for an NBA team.
And guess what? He makes it! Because...
Use Him For The Ball!
Forgive me. I mean no disrespect but, if you're only 2-1/2
feet tall, you're never going to play pro basketball.
So... why not channel all that energy into something viable?
Like going to Hollywood, starring in Disney movies and
sleeping with beautiful starlets.
the way, did you know lots of women are utterly fascinated by
dwarfs and midgets and sleep with them just out of curiosity?
I'm not making this up. It's true.
Look, in spite of this bizarre example, I'm trying to make a
serious point here. Has your business failed to make a profit
for a long time? If so, maybe it's not viable anymore. Maybe
it never was. Maybe it's time to close up shop and go on to
something else. Think about it. That's all I'm saying...
Think about it.
|| Think About Hiring A Good Private Detective
Before You Make Your Next Serious Move!
use private detectives quite a lot. You should too. Often,
they can save you years of grief. Are you about to do a
business deal with a guy with a great image who is really a
bum? Is that key employee you're about to hire a flat-out
criminal on parole for embezzling millions from his last ten
employers? Is your most critical supplier about to go bankrupt
and leave you no way of filling thousands of orders? Is that
"Prince of a Guy" or "Peach of a Gal" you're about to marry a
con artist or golddigger with a past shadier than Karen
Redpath's? Are you thinking of flying 3,000 miles, spending
several thousand fungolas and wasting a week of your time to
have a business meeting with people who are nothing but a
bunch of flakes?
down a minute. Sometimes a P.I. can do a simple routine check
that only takes a day or so and uncover some odious,
unpleasant facts you'd never know about without his help. And
sometimes (often) he'll simply discover the person or company
being checked out is totally "OK" and then... won't it be nice
to have one less big thing to worry about?
the way, the first person I always call when I want to find
out something is Laura Charles. Her phone number is (216)
229-1014. Even though she is not a private detective,
she has an amazing capacity to find out almost anything. And,
if it turns out you do still need the services of a licensed
private detective, Laura can recommend the best ones
Think about it.
|| Think About Starting Your Own Research And
Nearly all big companies have an R&D department. IBM has one.
So does Firestone Rubber Company (I used to work in
Firestone's R&D dept.), Dow Chemical, DuPont and hundreds of
others. You should have one too... even if you're a one man
Listen up: I bet you have plenty of problems vexing you right
now that... other people have already figured out how to
solve! Why should you be trying to blaze a new trail when
the road has already been paved?
much time and money will it cost you to start your own R&D
department? I hope you're not put off by this but... how about
one day per month and $10.00 or $20.00? Let's say you own a
flower shop and you want to sell more flowers. If you'll give
up just one lousy day per month, you could use that time to
get about 100 out-of-town newspapers and go through them
looking for ads placed by other people selling flowers. You
could also go to a large public library and finger walk your
way through the Yellow Pages of maybe 100 out-of-town phone
books and read all the ads appearing under "florists."
you are looking for are ideas, marketing strategies,
headlines, concepts, etc. which can be transplanted to your
business in your home town.
Think about it. Just one idea per year from this kind
of low-tech R&D could have a truly profound impact on
Also, if you're looking for a new business idea, this is a
good way to find one. A few days ago, in the "Key West
Citizen," I found a doozy. Check out this ad:
has over 50 menus.
DELIVERY CHARGE: 15%
(minimum charge: $1.00)
10:30 a.m. - Midnight
a great idea! Here's a way Paulette and I can sit home and
have supper delivered and not have to settle for pizza. We can
get anything we want. I don't know who came up with this idea
but I love it. And think about how slick it is. All you
really need is a telephone and some part-time minimum wage
employees. To get going, you simply make deals with all the
good restaurants in your town by offering to give them a lot
of business providing you can buy their food at a substantial
discount. Then, when someone calls in an order to you, you
make money on the food plus you make even more bucks by
tacking on a delivery charge.
deal gives you all the benefits of owning a restaurant
(actually of owning 50 restaurants) without any of the
the way, do you remember the name, Rick Neiswonger? He's the
guy who stole the show at my "Seminar Of The Century." Rick is
one of the most astute and energetic businessmen I've ever met
and he's looking for something new to promote. Not a product
necessarily, but some sort of money-making system. Say, for
example, you've found an automatic way to make X number of
dollars every time someone has a baby in your town. OK, what
Rick can do is, take your system, refine it... and then,
market that system to other people in other cities who have
money and energy but no place to channel those assets. Do you
have such a deal? Some sort of proven system that
almost can't fail if only someone will follow your recipe? If
so, call Rick and perhaps you'll both make a bundle. His
number is (800) 971-1088.
Anyhow, getting back to R&D, I believe if you are not using
at least 5% of your time and money to "treasure hunt" for
new ideas, you are truly missing the boat. Do your R&D
systematically and religiously. Give it some priority. Read
newsletters, books, newspapers and magazines. Buy or rent
appropriate audio and video tapes and audit them every month.
Systematically acquire and peruse other people's space
ads and direct mail promos.
some fun with this. Don't do it in a competitive,
goal-oriented way. But do it. And remember, if this
kind of low-tech R&D only uncovers one killer idea, it
might make a life or death difference to your business.
Think about it.
About Looking For "Set-Ups" Instead Of
always know I'm talking to a lightweight when someone tells me
they get off on the "challenge" of trying to achieve
something. Are you kidding? In business today, it's an
incredible challenge just to survive! You know, every
so often, I get a call from someone who doesn't know me and
they say something like this: "Gary, we hear you've got one of
the best marketing minds on the planet and we've got something
you can really sink your teeth into. Something that's a great
challenge. See, we manufacture little, portable
refrigerators and we want you to market them to Eskimos. The
way we figure, when we can say we've got a 'fridge so
different even Eskimos buy it, then everybody else will stand
in line to get one. Doesn't that sound exciting?"
boy!" I say while jumping up and down. "That's just what I
need... another challenge! Hey, you've really come to
the right guy. By golly, I was just thinking: Here I am
responding to the challenges of trying to put my kids through
college, supporting my mother, sending money to my ex-wife,
meeting a hefty payroll, paying all my rents, scraping up
enough to pay taxes, dealing with petty bureaucrats, trying to
write a state-of-the-art newsletter every month, keeping fit
so I don't have more health problems, trying to figure out new
ways to promote my own products, trying to figure out why my
last promo didn't work, meeting 16 deadlines every day and...
God Am I Happy You've
Brought Me Another 'Challenge'!
BULL... SHIT! American business owners need another
"challenge" about as much as Warren Beatty needs help getting
dates. What we need are "set-ups," lay-down hands, deals that
can't hardly miss even if everything goes wrong. (As it always
wanna sell heroin to junkies. Fudge bars that make you skinny
to porkers. Porno videos to Pee Wee Herman. Travel luggage to
President Bush. Memory pills to Ronald Reagan. Kitty Kelley
dart boards to Nancy Reagan. Condoms to Geraldo Rivera. (Did
you read his new book? Whew!) Booze to Ted Kennedy. I.Q. pills
to Dan Quayle, etc... etc... etc.
you getting the idea? I don't want (and certainly don't
need) another "challenge." No... I WANT IT TO BE EASY!
Here's my idea of an acceptable marketing "challenge":
Someone comes to me and says he's got this new diet pill that
burns off 1-1/2 pounds of fat per day no matter what or how
much you eat. Not only that, he's got proof in the form
of double-blind studies. Plus, he's got FDA approval
stating his pill really does live up to all his claims.
Plus, he's got hundreds of testimonials from satisfied
users who've given him permission to use them along with their
extremely dramatic before and after photos. Plus, he's
got ten M.D.'s who rave about his product. Plus, he's
got Liz Taylor to endorse his product and she's agreed to sign
any ad I write. Plus, Eric Weinstein has uncovered a
list of 10,000,000 virgin porkers who've never been
sent a diet product direct mail piece.
that's Gary C. Halbert's idea of a desirable marketing
I'm saying here is, it's hard enough to make something work
even when you've got everything going for it... let
alone trying to make some "challenge" work that's got two
strikes against it before you even get started.
look for marketing challenges. Instead, look for marketing
"set-ups." Ditto when you're looking for a business to buy.
You don't want something with "potential," you want something
that's proven. The best kind of business to buy is one
that's limping along but making a small profit despite the
owners doing vapid marketing or... better yet... no marketing
"Set-ups," "set-ups," "set-ups." Look for them and forget
Think about it.
|| Think About Downsizing Your Life!
Grandiosity bankrupts. It creates enormous stress. Do you
really need to be the biggest? Or the best? Do you really
need that drop-dead office? Do you honestly believe anyone
cares you've got the highest grossing widget company in
America? Listen to me: TIME is the irretrievable,
irreplaceable element and... YOU ARE RUNNING OUT! Face it: You
had a short time left on this earth the very moment you were
born. The truth is, from a cosmic point of view, all of us are
going to be gone in the blink of an eye. Are you going to
waste 25% of your most precious commodity staring into a
computer screen? Trying to beat last year's sales record? (Who
cares?) Struggling to make the mortgage on that condo in Aspen
you only visit twice a year? Sweating bullets so you can wear
Check this out: I've got both a solid gold $12,000
Rolex President and a $99.00 el cheapo Soviet "KGB" type watch
made by Gruen. I love my Soviet "KGB" watch. First, it's easy
to read. It's got a plain white face with big black numbers
and black hands. It's got a comfy leather band and... you can
unscrew the cap over the knob you use to set the time and
there's a little secret recessed place wherein you can hide a
suicide pill. Since I tend to lose things, so far, I've bought
three of these dudes (the watches not the suicide
pills) and, if I lose the one I'm wearing, shelling out
another $99.00 smackers won't be particularly painful.
I almost forgot... this watch comes in a tin box like they
sell caviar in and this box is just right to put on your
dresser to hold spare change and stuff.
let's talk about that $12,000 Rolex. The face of the watch has
Roman numerals instead of good old American numbers. Actually,
all these little marks are so small, the window you
look in to find out the date has a magnifying glass over it!
(I can't set the date anyway.) Now, since the hands and face
of the watch are both gold and the numerals are so small...
you need the eyesight of an eagle to read this sucker.
makes all this so ironic is, except for dope dealers and
corrupt presidents of S&L's, hardly anyone can afford one of
these "quality" timepieces until they're over 50 and their
eyesight is shot to hell.
since this thing is a self-winding mechanical jobbie, it
punishes you if you don't wear it for a day by ceasing to
function. Plus, it costs a fortune to repair. I was with Ted
Thomas at a TV shoot last year and he told me it cost him
$1,600 just to have the clasp repaired on his. A couple weeks
ago, my wind-up knob fell off (it just fell off!) in a motel
room in Ohio and, if the maids hadn't found it, I might've had
to skip a few meals to get it replaced. Best of all...
Watch Can Get
now have specialist crooks here in Florida called "Rolex
Bandits" who are likely, if they catch you wearing this
extravagance... to cut your hand off to get it!
it really is a great watch. It has dramatically increased my
quality of life. No doubt about it. By spending 120 times more
than I paid for my "KGB" special, I've got a timepiece that's
impossible to read, stops when you don't wear it, costs a
fortune when pieces fall off and, is a magnet for vicious
moral? Simply this:
Maybe Downsizing Your Life
Will Upsize The Quality Of Same!
Maybe... just maybe... this "downsizing" will have as little
genuine relevance as my solid gold Rolex has in
comparison to my ticky-tacky $99.00 "KGB" mail order special.
|| Think About Kimberly Bergalis!
Kimberly Bergalis has become the benchmark against which I
measure my "tough" life. I think about her whenever my row
seems too hard to hoe or life seems unfair or too difficult.
Kimberly is a beautiful young Florida girl (in her early 20's)
who is dying of AIDS contracted from her dentist. The powers
that be tried to smear her but, guess what? Not only is she
not a drug user, she's never even had sex. She's a virgin.
A beautiful, young, clean-living virgin who is going to die
without ever getting her shot at life. Compared to Kimberly
Bergalis, my troubles and, I suspect yours...
Don't Amount To A Hill Of Beans!
Think about it!
Gary C. Halbert
President, KGB PR Dept.
I know... I know. Not everyone appreciates these "think
pieces" but, damn it, sometimes we all need to back off a bit
and reflect a little on just what the hell it is we're trying
I played a "trick" on you with this issue. Did you
catch it? If not, I'll explain.
A friend of mine, Carlos "Globular" Duran has been
reading all the back issues of my newsletter and he recently
started pestering me to re-read a particular issue I wrote
nearly a decade ago. His pestering was so irritating to me
that, I finally did re-read that issue just to get him off my
The newsletter you just read is almost word-for-word the
same as my September 30, 1991 newsletter. It seems that what I
wrote almost ten years ago is as accurate and important
today... as... it was back then.
I'm now glad Carlos insisted I re-read it... and... I've
shared it with you. That's because... I can't think of
anything more relevant to write about today in the year
2001... than... what I wrote way back in September, 1991. I
hope you'll agree with me that sometimes (often)...
Is More Important To Be Reminded Of
"Core Fundamentals" Than To Be Dazzled With
Some New Piece Of Contemporary Creativity!
Copyright © 2003 Gary C. Halbert. All Rights