What Goes Up Must Come Down…You Can Plan On It
It’s no secret that economies are cyclical…they have ups and they have downs. Despite that simple fact, most businesses work on the assumption that they’ll always be in the up cycle. That’s foolishness. A business that wants to be around for the long term needs to have a plan for the up times and for the down times. And the good news is that we can have plans to not just survive, but to thrive and grow in the ups and the downs.
Long lasting businesses have a growth plan for the up times and in the down times.
It’s true that for most it’s easier to grow business when there’s a high degree of consumer confidence and the economy is growing…all ships rise in a growing economy. For many, the extended period of “good times” has led to an unintended complacency in how they do business. And now, they’re facing a rude awakening.
Frankly, I’m hearing a lot of advice about “working smarter” and “tightening your belt”. Let’s clear the deck of these two misguided pieces of advice:
- Work Smarter. We should always be working smarter…finding new and better ways to do business. Just because we are in a “time of global economic uncertainty” shouldn’t be our wake-up call to start being smart!
- Tighten Your Belt. Firstly, we should always seek ways to keep our costs down. Secondly, your very survival as a company may depend on spending more. More on that later…
These two pieces of advice should be givens regardless of the kind of economy we’re operating in. When we’re facing a seachange in the economy (and that’s what it is…a wholesale transformation of some very core fundamentals) we need to go beyond working smarter and tightening our belt…we need to look for the opportunity.
A Fad By Any Other Name
Here’s the trick to tapping into the opportunities being presented by what’s going on in the economy: Think of “economic uncertainty” and “recession” as the latest fad to cash in on. That’s right a fad. Just like the “pet rock”!
FAD: A temporary buzz enthusiastically followed by a group of people.
Let’s take a look at what happens when we overlay the definition of a “fad” with “recession”:
- Recessions are temporary. It’s not a matter of if, but when the recovery comes.
- Turn on CNN or any other newscast and everyone’s “a buzz” about the economy.
- Everyone seems to be following to see what happens next.
Sounds like a fad to me. So how do we “cash in” on this fad? Now there’s a great question ripe with possibilities. Stop right now and make sure you can see this talk of recession as a fad. Now, ask the “possibility thinker’s” question: “How do we cash in on this fad?”
For Every Sale There’s A Buyer
Warren Buffet says that the profit is made when you buy (not when you sell). And he’s right.
I want you to adjust your thinking and start seeing the opportunities that are being created. For example, here in Ontario where I live, our manufacturing sector has been very hard hit in the past year or so…in large part because of a high Canadian dollar that made our exports more expensive. However, in recent weeks, our dollar has gone significantly lower, making our exports much more attractive to US buyers. That’s good for our manufacturers. Gas prices are also down…automatic stimulus to the economy.
And there are many opportunities…if you look for them.
10 Ideas To Grow Your Business Because Of A Recession
- Position Your Product As A Necessity. If you’re an interior decorator, it’s time to shift your marketing message along the lines of “Go In With Your Friends”…
- Start Selling Upgrades And Service. Shift from selling new to helping people get more life out of their equipment by upgrading and servicing what they’ve already got. And when the market comes back, your help in making the most out of their equipment will be remembered and they’ll come to you when it is time to buy new.
- Offer Financing.
- Broaden Your Geography.
- Adopt another Target Market.
- Increase Your Market Share. When other companies falter, it’s a great time to be ready to move in and pick up the cusotmers that have lost their provider. Now is the time to identify competitors that may potentially fail and be prepared to move quickly.
- Increase Your Eyeball Share. When other companies are stopping their advertising, you can start advertising…fill the void your competition is giving you.
- Cross-Promotions & Joint Ventures. If you’ve found little interest from others in setting up joint ventures you may find that you have a much more receptive audience now. Setting-up cross-promotions with other non-competing businesses that are serving your Target Market is a really inexpensive way to get to a very targeted group of people.
- Repackage Your Products. If you’ve been a full-service business, is there a Do-It-Yourself option you can offer? Instead of selling “one size”, can you sell a “small, medium and large”? Can you offer a “starter package” and let people upgrade later?
- Know Your Customer. Above all else, really get into the mind of your Target Market and make sure your marketing is in alignment with where their head’s at. Yesterday’s marketing messages won’t be as effective…everyone’s mind space is shifting.
Can’t Blow An Uncertain Trumpet
One of my favourite quotes is by Theodore Hesburgh who said: “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.”
It may be a time of “global economic uncertainty”. Of that much we can be certain. And we can certainly develop and deploy our strategy for growing our business in this climate. Sound the trumpets! We’ve got a business to build.