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Beating a Recession – 2 March 28, 2008

Posted by David Dirks in Marketing Buzz, Recession: How to Beat It!, Sales Strategy/Tactics, Solving Business Problems.
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dirksphoto.jpgIf you’re in business and you hear the word ‘recession’, you need to rejoice!  Rejoice?  Yes, get happy about it because your time has arrived.  Call me crazy but when times are good and the economy is kicking along, even mediocre businesses can survive.  Recessions, like any economic downturn worth its salt, flush out those who were already on the way out.  The challenge of keeping your business moving forward and profitable is not an easy task during an economic slowdown.

The good news is that there are many things you can do to advance your growth and profitability during a recession (or anytime for that matter).  In this column series, we’ll take a look at ways that can help you win no matter what happens.

Now, for the bad news.  If your business is already operating on a shoe string (little or no money), you’ve got to fix that problem first before you take another step.  People who open businesses on a shoestring have broken the first rule of business:  have more than adequate funding to start.  Talk to your accountant (don’t have one? Another mistake!) and your banker to develop a plan to shore up your finances.

Here are three ways you can advance your business during a recession:

•    Sell more of your expertise.  Own a restaurant?  Offer cooking classes.  Own a florist?  Teach people how to arrange flowers for all occasions.  Own a auto repair shop?  Why not teach basic auto care?  Own an accounting service?  Teach basic business bookkeeping workshop.  Get it?  Take your expertise out of the closet and put it into the hands of people who need it the most: current and future customers.

Marketing more of your expertise to your current customer base can help you deepen your relationship with them.  It’s also a way to bring new foot traffic into your business too. You can also develop an adult education course for BOCES or any one of our fine community colleges that have active adult education programming.

It’s a huge business opportunity that is underutilized within the Hudson Valley.  Need proof?  Try to find a business that reaches out beyond their normal product/service offerings to sell their expertise.  If you do, I’d like to hear about it.  Email me at dirksmarketing@gmail.com.

•    Solve more customer problems.   When you are looking for ways to create or stabilize your revenues, one way to do that is find more customer problems your business can help them solve.  That will help you add more offerings to your business menu.  Contrary to popular recessionary wisdom, you should add more service/product offerings instead of cutting back on them.  How do you do this? Just ask your customers and they’ll tell you what problems they are trying to solve.

•    Use local college brainpower.  Need some fresh perspectives and ideas on a marketing or sales issue?  Bring it to a local college and get some fresh eyes, ears, and brains on it.  For example, find out if your local college/university has a marketing program.  Contact the professors who teach those programs and see if you can enlist the help of their students to solve a marketing or sales challenge.

Sometimes you’re just too close to a business problem to effectively come up with solutions to solve it.  What better way to get that outside perspective than to tap into our local institutions that teach the next generation of business leaders?

You might even consider hiring an intern or two and have them focus solely on helping your solve a critical marketing or sales challenge.  It’s a win-win for both you and the students!

Look at a recession as a business opportunity, not as a call to 911.

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