The Three Steps to Recession-Proofing Your Business
I must admit that I don’t watch the news often enough. It frustrates me and depresses me, all at the same time. But, I do walk by a television that is showing a news program often enough to see the constant predictions by the Chicken Littles of the world. They are all too ready to offer up the “news” that “the sky is falling.”
Now, before you run off and start actually believing that — especially in the context of your business — just stop, take a deep breath and relax. Money is moving just as fast as it ever has, you just need to be conscious of the fact that it may be moving differently than it was in the real estate boom of yesterday.
Below, you’ll find three easy steps that will help you recession-proof your business:
1. Become the ‘Celebrity Expert’ in your Business Niche
In any economy, especially in an economy where the buyers in your market have been trained to spend carefully, you have to compete for every last dollar that is being spent. Your buyers are likely distracted by their own issues that they are dealing with, so the last thing that you want is to lose a prospect or, worse yet, an existing customer due to factor you can control.
If you have taken the time to show that YOU, not the product or service that you offer, are the Celebrity Expert, the Guru, the Go-To provider in the marketplace, you will have a much better chance of staying busy — while your competitors are floundering. The reason for this is that many business strategies change during market shifts, and if your buyers remember your previous strategies and offerings better than they remember your ability to make great decisions and guide them in the right direction, then you can expect to sit around waiting for the telephone to ring until the market changes.
If, on the other hand, you have taken the time to display your expertise, and have promoted yourself rather than your “latest and greatest” product and service offering, your audience will always come to you, their trusted source, when they must get results. They would rather rely on a trusted advisor than on a product or service. People buy people; NEVER forget this — especially in a shifting market.
2. Ramp Up Your Marketing Efforts
In a changing market where assumptions and projections are no longer identical to what they were in previous periods, the first thing many businesses do is assume an overly-conservative marketing strategy. The first thing many a CFO says is “let’s slow down our marketing efforts.” BIG MISTAKE.
This could appear to be a lesson in contrarian-marketing, and while that does often work, this goes deeper than that. We’re not just trying to say “Yes” when those around us are saying “No,” but the same outcome ensues.
In a changing marketplace you actually have to market more consistently and creatively to get consumers to spend their dollars on your products and services. They are adopting a more fiscally conservative policy all around based on what they are seeing and hearing; so they have to be smacked in the face with your marketing message even more than usual in order to finally make the decision that what you are offering makes sense for them. If you slow down your marketing efforts, the final “sign” your buyer is looking for before they cross the line and buy may never come. As they say, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” If you don’t appear when the student is ready, you’ll miss out on the chance to make the sale and bring in the revenues you deserve.
3. Be Agile
We often get caught up in offering the products and services that we want to offer, rather than looking for the missing ingredients in our buyers’ lives. It’s an easy trap to fall into, particularly if you’ve been doing what you’ve been doing for a prolonged period of time.
If you get stuck offering your products and services exactly as you have in the past, you may miss a great opportunity to fill a void. If there is a shift in market conditions and your profitability level drops, and you continue to offer your products and services the same way you were pre-shift, then you are turning a blind eye to the fact that your marketplace is no longer seeking (or willing to pay for) the solution of yesterday.
Oftentimes it only takes a slight tweak of your message to ease the pain your prospects are feeling, but you do have to take a moment to stop and realize that your “ointment” may no longer be packaged in a way that attracts customers, and that re-packaging could be the key to renewed profitability.
I know that the overwhelming message in the news is that “the sky is falling,” but if you’ll take the time to follow these three simple steps, I assure you that even while your prospects and clients are trying to avoid the impending doom, they’ll come to your bunker to avoid getting knocked down.