Even as the economy continues to improve, economic uncertainties continue to plaque many businesses. More than anything, small businesses will have to do everything within their power to brace for more ups and downs in the economy and survive the bad times. Business survival should always be at the forefront in every entrepreneurs’ minds.
Use these surefire strategies to immediately recession-proof your business and you’ll not only weather the recession, but you’ll come out on top of your competitors when the economic tide reverses.
In a weak economy, diversification may be your business’ best friend. The more services you can offer, the more clients you will be able to find. For example, if you primarily create business plans or marketing collateral for big name clients, you could expand your services to include press releases, sales letters, web content, or other business-related products and services. And you can diversify even further by repackaging your product and selling it to a different clientele. For example, you could host a seminar or workshop on writing business plans. Each person who attends may not be able to pay your normal fee, but combined not only may you earn more, you could also score a few new clients. No matter what service you offer, with a little innovative thinking you should be able to develop several “new” offers. All of which will help keep you ahead while your niche-focused competitors bite the dust.
Offer Outstanding Customer Service
Once you’ve started attracting customers, you’ll have to worry about retaining them, and in a stagnating economy that may be even more difficult. You must provide not only a high quality product, but also exceptional customer service. When money’s tight, clients expect more for their dollar. If you want to keep their business, you must keep them happy. Refine your customer service strategy to insure that every step from taking the order to delivering the product is client-focused and effective. You may want to conduct a customer satisfaction survey or two in order to make sure your customers’ needs are being met. Also consider making your service more valuable to clients with faster delivery times, wider selections, or more flexible payment terms.
One of the biggest mistakes business owners make during periods of economic slowdown is to cut back on marketing and advertising, doing this could be most detrimental to your business. Instead, your marketing needs to be more aggressive and more comprehensive than ever. Start by contacting past clients and simply touching base. Chances are a good number of them will have projects or assignments for which your services may be required
Offer discounts, freebies, or other extras as incentives. You may also want to set up a referral reward program for clients as part of your marketing efforts. You also need to re-evaluate your current marketing methods. If you are not seeing some increase in sales from every dollar you spend on promotions, then you are wasting valuable revenue. Whether you use billboard ads, direct mailings, or the yellow pages now is the time to make sure your current marketing is cost-effective and efficient. I am often haunted by P.T. Barnum’s stark reminder: “Without promotion, something terrible happens – NOTHING!”
Position Yourself to be a Market Leader
Are you content to follow the herd? Step outside of your comfort zone and dare to lead than to follow. Set yourself apart from the competition by developing your own USP-unique selling position sometimes also referred to as ESA (Essential Selling Advantage) What is your USP? It doesn’t really matter ‘what’ your USP is as much as it matters that you have one. Prospective customers MUST have a good reason to do business with you rather than your competition. It could be your superior customer service, your lifetime refund policy, best prices or the outstanding quality of your products. You have absolutely no reason to worry about the economic slowdown or competition once your customers ‘experience’ your USP. In fact, you can use your USP to ruthlessly eliminate your competitors.
Adopt Cutting Edge Technologies
One of the best ways to stay ahead of your competitors is by keeping up with current technology. So if you aren’t familiar with customer relation management software or even e-mail marketing, now is the time to do so. You can put your business online, advertise with well-placed banner ads, send out information to potential clients via e-mail, outsource some of your administrative duties, manage your payroll, or establish an affiliate program all on the Internet. Current technology can help your company run more efficiently and more cost effectively, plus it can open access to clients in the next city, in another state, or even enable you to compete in the global marketplace. You’ll have the potential to contact millions of people who would otherwise have never heard of you or your product and in a slow economy you need all the exposure you can get.
Nothing will damage your business more than business myopia or short sightedness.. In order to stay successful, you must always keep an eye on your long term goals and objectives. You will hit rough spots but do not get bogged down in the present. Do not make this mistake. Instead keep your eyes on your target. Stay focused. Every decision, every cutback, every improvement you make now must be beneficial not only in the present but more importantly in the future. Think about this before you slash prices, fire employees, cut overhead, or lower your standards.
Seek New Ways to Improve
If you are like most people, you are content with the status quo until something disturbs it. You should be constantly re-evaluating not just your marketing plan, but all of your business strategies including policies, pricing, and employee performance. The idea is to eventually be as efficient and effective as possible so your company runs smoothly and profitably. Look closely at your competitors. Talk to business leaders you respect. Read business management books. Experiment. Solicit feedback from your workers and customers. By doing several of these things you will accumulate a wealth of knowledge and experience crucial to the survival of your business.
As you read this tens of thousands of businesses across the country are headed for extinction. Use these recession-proof strategies immediately and you are guaranteed to see assets where others see liabilities, opportunity where others see failure, and extra profits where others see financial losses.
Recommended Books on Small Business Survival:
- Small Business Marketing: A Guide for Survival Growth and Success
- Small Business Survival Guide
- Financial Crisis Planning for Small Business – Winning Today’s Battle For Business Survival
- Small Business Survival Guide: Starting, Protecting, And Securing Your Business for Long-Term Success
- Survival Jobs: 154 Ways To Make Money While Pursuing Your Dreams
Collin Almeida is a Product Licensing Consultant and Publisher of the Strategic Marketing Audio Newsletter. Discover 58 Proven,Do-it-Yourself strategies to recession-proof your business by visiting his website at http://www.HowToRecessionProofYourBusiness.com For more marketing, copywriting and advertising resources visit www.reprint-rights.com
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