Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
Small and home-based businesses might seem to have the odds stacked against them when it comes to economic downturns and recessions, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, small can be big (to paraphrase Seth Godin) because smaller businesses can react more quickly and create new action plans to counteract negative economic situations.
You don’t have to have costly committee meetings and get approval from twenty people before implementing a change! You can have a great idea and go for it. That kind of freedom and speed could be essential to your success and can certainly help you survive, and in some cases even thrive during a recession.
Try these six tips to improve your chances of success:
1—Don’t ignore reality. People are spending less across the board. Fear of losing their homes, retirement accounts and jobs is a very real fear and it’s only natural and sensible for consumers to hold on to their money now.
That does not mean spending will cease, however. It does mean you have to be better at marketing and selling than your competitors. It means you have to have worthy products and services to sell. It means you must know your market inside and out. It means you must be on your game.
2—Know your Cash Flow and Your Profitable Price: If you have 20 widgets on your shelves that you cannot sell, you need to know why. Is your competition selling them cheaper? What’s your bottom price? Can you afford to have widgets sitting around or do you need the cash, even if you lose money?
Be smart about pricing. The value of anything is what someone will pay for it now; not how much you paid for it six months ago or even how much you sold it for two weeks ago. You might lower your profit margins to increase cash flow. Or, you might take a loss on some items or services in order to build your client base.
3—How can you better Serve your Customer? This is a question business owners of all sizes need to ask constantly, but even more now. Dig really deep, too. Ask yourself every day “What can I do today to make things easier for my customer/client/audience?”
Educate your customer on how to get the best use of your product/service/industry with articles, tips sheets, seminars.
Talk to your customers. A short survey of your customers/prospects can give you tons of ideas. Ask them what is on their minds; what they wish would change; how you can better serve them. Don’t be afraid to stray outside your comfort zone here.
Perhaps they wish the stock market would rebound and you know zilch about stocks. Could you call an investment counselor and ask her to help you create a tip sheet for your clients or to write an article for your next newsletter, or to speak at a luncheon at your business?
4—Rethink your Strategic Plan. If your sales are lagging, instead of just blaming the economy, think about how you can increase sales.
Maybe you reposition a product, maybe you make more sales calls, maybe you move some of your advertising dollars around, maybe you network more. If what worked last year is not working this year, maybe it’s time to try new tactics and actions.
5—Hire professional help. Now is a great time to bring in a marketing or business coach who can help you formulate plans to keep your business successful, even in a recession. A coach or consultant can provide a fresh look at what you are doing and help you fine tune it so that you are more efficient and effective, and profitable.
6—Stay positive. You may need to keep an eye on the news, but avoid long hours spent listening to experts pontificate and predict doom and gloom. If you are depressed, your business will be, too, no matter what the stock market does. Take good care of yourself mentally and physically and you will be much better able to respond to financial difficulties in a positive, money-making manner.
Smart Marketing Works offers coaching services via phone and email. Mention BELLAONLINE to receive a 25% discount on a three-hour coaching package.
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