Recession, Fear, Whiskey and Choosing a New Approach

Just as I was leaving the French slopes, the world’s business and political leaders were heading to the Swiss slopes, to the annual gathering at Davos. The theme is Rebuilding Trust which, lets face it, the world probably needs given the multi-faceted global challenges that we face – the growth of AI, climate change and of course geopolitical conflicts.

The meeting at Davos comes at the backdrop of a report last week, which said the global economy faces a year of subdued growth prospects and uncertainty.

The report conducted by a survey of over 60 chief economists – across  the globe – is conducted every year ahead of the World Economic Forum meeting at Davos.

Not great reading.

Then last week, The world bank also warned that global growth in 2024 is set to slow for a third year in a row.

It went onto say, that hamstrung by the Covid-19 pandemic, then the war in Ukraine and ensuing spikes in inflation and interest rates around the world, the first half of the 2020s now looks like it will be the worst half-decade performance in 30 years.

Worst half decade performance in 30 years?!

It’s enough to depress a small business owner setting their sights on growth in 2024.

So it all seems doom and gloom, right?

But not so!

Here’s what I also read over the weekend – a bottle of whiskey was sold for $2.8million.

Yes, you read that right.


It makes it the world’s most expensive whiskey or whisky ever sold!

Just incase you are interested, the bottle comes in a walnut case, which includes a single decanter, alongside a bespoke Fabergé egg – containing an actual emerald gem – a custom timepiece and a pair of Cohiba cigars. Head to RTE to get a photo of what it looks like, it’s pretty cool! (

But here’s the thing – Jay Bradley CEO and founder of The Craft Irish Whiskey Co., is a small business owner, this is an SME that was set up 6 years ago. Their mission is  making Irish whiskey the most coveted luxury spirit and restoring Ireland’s reputation for crafting the finest whiskeys in the world.

I think he’s well on his way to achieving this, don’t you?

Now…how do I get him as a guest on The Achievers Club podcast?!!

So you may be reading this and going, okay Denise, what has this got to do with me?

Well everything really.

You see, I think we’ll hear more stories about recession as the year progresses. But for every story we hear about poor growth levels, there is always a balance of a good story.

You need to be aware of what’s going on in the economy, but realise that it’s not necessarily your economy.

Let’s compare the tracking of the economy with the tracking of obesity rates.

If you look online, you’ll see things like – over half of the world will be obese by 2035 (Time Magazine ( or Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975 (

But yet you and your family or even your community work out, play sports, eat nutritious foods, minimise snack food and try to eat your 5 a day, so in reality the above figures don’t impact as much on you and your life.

Same thing with the economy. It’s all averages. So your economy could be totally different than the overall economy and that’s something positive to focus on rather than get annoyed at or blame the economy for the lack of growth in your business.

If you are looking to growth this year, then grow you will, with a few deliberate behaviour changes.

If you’re still with me and what to grow, here are a few things to think about, act upon and remember throughout the year:

1. Choose your words carefully

I speak to a lot of business owners who want more clients and some will say to me ‘my clients won’t pay that much’ or ‘times are tough’. Words shape your thinking as much as they shape your clients’ thinking. Just as the global economy is shrinking, someone bought a bottle of Irish whiskey for €2.8 million.

It may be time to reassess who your client is and who is willing to buy from you.

2. Choose Balance

If you watch the news or read the news regularly, it may totally make you feel despondent, less optimistic about those growth plans you made. How can you get 50% growth rates or 100 extra clients when the world is turning upside down?

Be aware that the news may be miserable, but you don’t have to be.

3. Ignore Fear

I’m the first one to admit that I froze last year with the advent of AI. I thought that my business would be gone – who needs marketing advice when ChatGPT can give people a plan?

Now, we know that AI can’t replace real marketing experience and knowledge – lived experience with a human connection is so important in marketing.

So fear can paralyse us into not taking action. While I know it’s hard to do, and it’s connected to the point above about choosing balance. Don’t let fear win.

4. Get Consistent

Now is not the time to be dabbling in marketing. You need to focus on your marketing and get intentional about it. Social media usage is declining, engagement levels are also in decline and yes, more generalisations that I tell you to avoid. But many small business owners head to social media first, when there are other ways  of promoting your business.

Marketing is a strategic focus for your small business and if you need help, why not grab a copy of my How to Market your Small Business which gives you 1 system to get more clients and income, 6 stages to make your marketing thrive and 18 tips to put into practice TODAY.

5. Create Solutions

Your client has a problem. You have or you are the solution. Whether you’re selling to businesses or  consumers, it doesn’t matter. You need to rephrase your marketing messaging or copy to show your leads, prospects and clients that you are or have a solution.

Most people don’t care that you’re in business for 10 years, 1 year or 100 years– they will care after you solve their problem. They want you to solve their problem…that’s what they’ll pay you for.

So as we move into 2024, a year that looks like it’s full of uncertainty, you can still be certain of your growth, once you change your behaviour.

What’s that old saying, attributed to Albert Einstein, “you cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it.”

It’s time for a new approach to your marketing. Good luck.

If you’re looking to grow, email me directly at and let’s chat.



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