Surviving Tough Economic Times
Are we in a recession? Are we in a depression? For the business owner, does it really matter? No matter what the financial analysts call it, you have to be acutely aware of all aspects of the business in order to do more than survive. After all – you want to thrive! Let’s look at some tips that you can use in order to keep your business in the black.
“An inner quality that many entrepreneurs say helps them survive is optimism.” Jean Chatzky
Tap Into New Business
This isn’t just about increasing direct marketing or cold calling efforts. There are unique ways to find customers you normally wouldn’t attract.
Complementary or partner services: For an example, let’s say you sell car wash services. If you haven’t already done so, find local businesses that perform 30 minute oil changes and create a partnership. Go together on a bundled package or work together to create an advertisement that shows how you complement each other.
Join organization or present papers: There’s nothing like expanding your customer base by letting others know you are the knowledge expert. If you do have an area of expertise, sign up at conventions, conferences or organizations to offer some advice free in exchange for advertising directly to the participants.
Do some research: As your needs change in tough economic times, so does your customer’s. Their needs aren’t the same as they were when money was flush and bills were paid. Find out what their needs are today and if needs be, change your line of products to meet what they will be spending money on.
Grow Your Business
Ask for referrals: If your customers are happy with you, ask if they can be a referral for you. Most customers will completely understand and be more than happy to help provide positive feedback, especially if you also provide some discounts along with a referral.
Provide discounts: If you have a good customer and know that they’re struggling a little, provide some discounts to keep them with you. It’s cheaper to keep a customer than try to find a replacement one.
Focus on quality: Although quality should always be a priority, when it comes to tough financial times, it should be raised up as probably the most important reason for being in business. Too often, companies cut expenses during financial trouble, but they cut those expenses which leads to a reduction in quality. This means that customers leave in droves.
Customer Service – Improve or increase customer service. Focus on your current customers and give them the best service possible. Even during tough times, people will pay a premium for services that cater to them individually.
You are the model! Your staff will look to you to see how they should act. Be the first level of quality within your organization and show your employees how to treat your customers.
Use the web
Web Presence: Chances are, you already have a web presence, so it’s time to look at how you can expend this presence to meet your customer’s needs and grow your customer base. Engage in some SEO activities and keep a close watch on your keywords in order to get the most exposure possible. Write some articles for publication or release some press releases about your new activities.
E-Marketing: E-Mail marketing, text message marketing, online coupons, online advertisements are all some of the most affordable marketing tactics available. You can use these tactics with both new customers and current customers in order to keep them engaged and active.
Did you know? Warren Buffet recently stated,” I believe that we are already in a recession. It will be deeper and longer than what many think.”
This is the time to do some housecleaning and cut the expenses, but only if it makes sense to cut.
Little stuff: Never underestimate the power of a penny. The little stuff that you spend money on may not make a difference in your quality, your customer service or getting new customers. Do your employees need unlimited cell usage or can you cut back their level of service? Do you really need your offices cleaned 3 times a week or can you live with 2 times per week?
Vendors: Shop around. If you like your current vendor, but another one can beat their prices, try negotiation. See if you can’t get your current vendor to cut their costs to be competitive. Check out each supplier and service provider to make sure you are getting cost efficient service.
Have a sale: Last, but not least is unused assets. These items have worth, but aren’t being used in a productive manner. Most companies won’t have any large unused assets, but if you need a little boost of cash, it’s a good idea to review your list of assets.
Source by Linda J Banks