Strategies for Success During a Recession

How will you, your business, your employees, or your employer survive the recession? Is it possible to emerge from the recession ahead of your competitor? What should you focus on?   Here are a few ideas to help you, and your company survive a slowdown in your business.

The purpose of a business should be to cultivate a following of customers.
– Peter Drucker

Embrace Change

Are you an employee? Are you having success in work during hard times? How is your company performing during a recessions? Have you asked yourself what you can do to help your company fair well during this recession? Here are a few ideas:

1) Suggest ways for how you/your team can build and improve relationships with customers and prospective customers.
2) Learn new skills and find new ways that you can contribute value to your company.
3) Stay engaged and productive.
4) Organize team meetings to talk about improving productivity, customer retention, or sales.
5) Be flexible. If the company needs you to travel, take on a new responsibility or extra work – don’t resist!

Remember the 80-20 Rule

Remember the Pareto principle? This principle follows the belief that 80% of outputs result from 20% of the inputs. Twenty percent of customers bring in 80 percent of revenue. 80% of our results come from 20% of our time and effort.

Do you have downtime? Are you doing more with less support? Take time to evaulate how you spend your energy and resources. Improve your systems. Checklists are invaluable when you have important procedures and multiple steps to remember.  Make a list of important tasks and create checklists to document procedures. This process alone will show you ways to save time or streamline your work procedures.

Be a Leader

Honing your leadership skills will help you have more success in work. Don’t engage in pessimistic or fearful thinking when it comes to the economy or to your company’s future. Rather, think of ways you can motivate and energize yourself, your co-workers, or your employees. Great leaders have the ability to engage employees in the work during good times. It’s even more necessary during harder times.

The late W. Clement Stone became a billionaire by inspiring thousands of people to join him in building his company, Combined Insurance Company. One of his key philosophies was that you get what you want when you help enough other people get what they want.

Are you, your co-workers, or your employees engaged? Inspired? Great leaders find out what people want and help them achieve their goals.

Engage Everyone

Is everyone helping build the business towards creating more success? When sales are down, it’s easy to blame the sales team, because it’s their job to bring in new business. Now is a good time to make sales a company responsibility, and every employee a Customer Relationship Manager.

Most job descriptions are missing an important responsibility. Do people at your company have a shared sense of mission in creating and sustaining long term customer relationships?   If not, consider updating every job description to include as the first responsibility: “Customer Relationship Manager.” Make all other responsibilities secondary to this role.

Increase Marketing Efforts

Now more than ever, it’s important to keep relationships with existing customers strong and build bridges for new business. During a recession, customers are more likely to work with companies they trust and have done business with in the past. Keep in touch customers and let them know you care about their businesses. Contact smaller or dormant accounts and find out how you can serve their needs.

Consider new or low cost marketing strategies, such as:

•  Repackaging your product or service with price options that make them affordable to a different market or to clients with smaller budgets.

•  Emphasizing the value or your product or service and show measurable results.

•  Partnering with other businesses to cross promote each other.

•  Use the internet. Webinars can reduce travel costs and the sales cycle. Write articles and online press releases to increase your visibility on the internet. Send electronic newsletters (such as this one) to keep in touch with your customers and prospective customers.

•  Improve your company website.   Is your website bringing you new business? Internet sales will likely increase as consumers spend less on travel and look for ways to save money on their purchases through internet shopping. A strong and professional internet presence is a must today. Improve your online success by adding audio testimonials, or video sales presentations to your website.

The Bottom Line: Improve Your Focus

Losing focus and slowing down marketing efforts are the biggest mistakes people make during a recession. Marketing is what brings in business, so get everyone in your company focused on your marketing efforts during a recession. Most importantly – set some goals, take action and hold a positive focus.

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