Thursday, October 30, 2008

Four strategies for surviving the recession

There’s little doubt now that we’re in a recession, and many experts say it will likely last through 2009.

What does this mean for you and your business?

While nearly everyone is looking to curtail their spending, and credit figures to be much harder to obtain than it has been, there’s no need to panic. In fact, an economic slowdown can be a great time to pick up market share from your competitors, as they shrink their budgets, and thus their marketing.

Keep in mind too that when things pick up again, as they always do, you want to be well-positioned to accelerate your business along with the larger economy. That may mean down-shifting now so that you’re ready to up-shift in the future.
So here’s what you can do now to help maintain the health of your business, regardless of economic conditions:

- Cut unnecessary expenses. Where can you tighten your budgets? Whether you do it across the board, or surgically, trimming 10 to 20 percent can have a dramatic effect on your bottom line, while you preserve your core competencies and continue to service your existing clients.

- Focus on your ideal client. Rededicate yourself to finding clients who pay promptly, come back again and again, and refer others like themselves. This means examining your current marketing efforts to make sure you’re looking for the right people, in the right places. Ask yourself: How do I define my perfect customer? Where do I find them? Once I have a prospect, how do I qualify them?Once I’ve qualified them, how do I convert prospects to customers?

- Get out and make new contacts. LinkedIn, Facebook and other online networking sites are great, but there’s nothing like face-to-to-face conversations to build your network. You local Chamber of Commerce and groups like BNI are a great place to start.

- Package your products and services in a new way. Sometimes it helps to refresh how you present yourself to the market. Can you create an attractive offer aimed at new clients? Now’s the time to roll it out.

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