A lot has been written lately about the current financial crisis and small business. Most of it has dealt with cutting costs and staying afloat, and generally addressing the larger issue of “surviving” the current crisis. While entrepreneurs can survive a recession, there’s no reason not to grow your business, even when money is tight. Here are some ways you can outsmart the competition and not only survive, but flourish during a recession.
Most businesses cut back on marketing when times are tough, in an attempt to cut costs and stay afloat. Study after study has proven, however, that the businesses that succeed and grow the most after a recession is over are those who kept on marketing during the bad times. I’m not telling you to spend all your cash on marketing and hope for the best, but don’t cut back on your marketing just because there’s a recession. If anything, use the recession as an excuse to make every dollar count and negotiate better rates with Magazines, Printers and other sources.
If you already have existing customers, a great way to bring in extra cash and hone your sales skills is to try and upsell them to a higher level of service, a more expensive product, or aÃ‚Â value added service.
For example, if you do landscaping during the summer, you could upsell a yearlong gardening service or your snow plowing service for the coming winter.Ã‚Â Call past customers up and offer them a member’s only deal or coupon to get them to purchase a new service or product. Try and develop services or products that require a repeat/monthly investment as well.
Making every penny count can be a good thing.Ã‚Â Take the time now to create processes, train employees and systemize your business so that runs like clockwork. The time spent in creating efficiency now will result in the ability to take on more customers and clients with the same system you already have, increasing your profits while not increasing your costs.
Finally, use the downturn as an excuse to play hardball. Tighten the screws on your vendors and suppliers. For example, call your cell phone provider up and threaten to leave unless they give you a better deal. Tell your suppliers that they need to lower their prices or you will find someone else to deal with.Ã‚Â When they complain, simply explain to them that times are tight and everyone is making cuts in spending. They’ll understand and you’ll have more money to spend on marketing.