Grow Your Business Even During an Economic Downturn
With all the talk over the last few weeks of the $700 billon bail-out package and with the impending presidential election in less than a month, many business owners are scared. They wonder if their business will be impacted by all that is wrong with our economy. Perhaps they will be affected, but it doesn’t have to be negatively. There are businesses out there, several of which are clients of mine, who are growing and thriving during these “hard” times. All are focused on four common areas which have led to their growth.
Communication. Internally, my clients are communicating with their employees, vendors, and strategic partners. They are holding open and honest dialog about their vision, objectives, and needs. Externally, they are communicating a consistent message with their customers and prospects. The biggest advantage of communication is keeping everyone informed. For example, if a business is restructuring, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the business is doing so for financial hardship reasons. It could mean that particular area/department isn’t applicable anymore, and they are using those resources to steer the business towards new opportunities and growth!
Marketing. My clients are marketing. They may not necessarily be adding to their marketing budget, but they are selective about where they’re spending their marketing money – and they are spending. Now is a great time to negotiate value-adds with publications, direct mail houses, and media. If you are spending you are going to get great value. You just need to know how to do that.
Public Relations. Businesses forget about public relations (PR) as a way to grow, but everyone has a story to tell. There is a misconception that it costs a ton of money to outsource PR. The reality is that it doesn’t have to. Often times, when I work with clients, we’ll come up with the message together, and then we’ll outsource the writing. Or perhaps the writing is done internally, and the distributing is outsourced. PR takes time, a strategic approach, and planning, but it is a key way to grow your business.
Streamlining Processes. By going through a business assessment, you get a “snapshot” of what should be tackled in each area (human resources, leadership, sales, marketing, accounts payable and receivable) to make your business run efficiently. It helps to dissect the business so we can take a focused approach to implementing new (and improved) processes and ultimately tighten-up your business model to make sure it is as efficient as possible.
Here are three clients that I’ve recently worked with to help grow their business.
Client A: After going through my assessment process, this client has reinvented their business. Internally, they have developed new systems for paperwork flows, price points, and fulfillment. Through the assessment process they also uncovered the need for additional training. Their management team does not have the leadership skills necessary to grow with the company, but they are open to learning. This client is also marketing, and they are tackling marketing from a different perspective – the Internet. With these changes (made this past summer), this client is projected to increase revenues by 50 percent in the next seven months!
Client B: This client decided to market, despite the economy, when they never have in the past. They noted that many others were cutting their budget, hanging onto their money, and taking a conservative approach, and this client cleverly recognized that now is the best time to market. (This is my advice to all of my clients. Everyone is saying, “now’s the time to market”, but those who are actually taking action are those who are reaping the benefits.) This client is marketing to a specifically targeted sector, and we are building lists of 25 prospects and developing multi-step campaigns geared towards that niche market. And it is working! Client B just brought in a new client that exceeded the revenues of their largest client to date!
Client C: This client used to be a “mom-n-pop shop” in a sleepy town and has done a wonderful job with public relations. This is a great example of how I work with a client during a business coaching session to develop a hook, the overall message, and the strategy for the press releases and distribution. From there, the client writes and distributes the press releases. It is a cost-effective approach to public relations. By using public relations this client has doubled their retail space and is introducing products on a regular basis, despite the economy. They are now regularly mentioned in national publications and are receiving orders from all over the world – all as a result of business coaching and public relations efforts.
Don’t hide behind the “doom and gloom” attention the media is giving our economy. There are so many opportunities available to catapult your business to the next level.