5 Things to Move Forward in Any Economy
It seems that lately we are hearing some promising, yet limiting, news about the state of our economy. Whether there is truth to what we hear or not, we must position ourselves to move forward. We can use this opportunity to evolve and do things differently. Look at your business model. Are there things that need to change? Are you still selling and prospecting the same?
Something’s got to give. The opportunity you have should be looked at as an exciting time to implement change for the good. Don’t let your fear for change get in the way of the new normal. Here are five steps I have laid out to help you evolve your business with the changing economic state:
- Look inside first: Focus on what you have. Look at your customer base. See if you can add more value to the professional relationships that exist. Not in terms of discounts or giveaways, but instead help them out in ways outside your relationship. For example, if they are looking for a new bookkeeper, keep that in mind. If an opportunity arises to help them find one, bring it up. Even set up a meeting or lunch with the three of you. Things outside of the normal business exchange are what we all need to increase business. Reach out and keep those you are in relationships with in mind by offering added value. Chances are they will do the same with you.
- Analyze your expenses: I think so many of us lack real understanding here. I find most businesspeople/entrepreneurs are either focused on business development or cost cutting. To be successful, both need to be tended to all of the time. Yes, a business development plan is crucial in building and maintaining business, but we don’t want money coming in the front door and sneaking out the back because we aren’t looking.
- Get creative in your marketing: Always be looking for new ways to market your business. If traditional means of advertising are tough on your budget, meet with your account manager and get creative. I always worry about those who pull their ads all together. What kind of message does that send? And yes, the Internet is a wonderful tool, but not only do you need to be creative there, too, but you need to know what to focus on.
- Network: I’m a big fan of networking through your local organizations. You always have at least two things: money and time. If money is short, you have time, so use that. Get out there and network. Use your local chamber of commerce, BNI group or even business-run charity events to meet potential strategic alliances.
- Build strategic alliances: Look at businesses associated with yours. For example, if you’re a financial adviser, look at local CPAs or attorneys who do estate planning. Make plans to get together and discuss what both of you are looking for, and see if there are ways you can help each other out. These relationships prove especially fruitful when looking for referrals, so remember to give as much as you receive.
Turn your business inside out and get to know all aspects of it. What can you do to streamline? To build? Who really are your best customers? Are you concentrating on them as much as finding new business? Now is the time to set these processes in place so future growth can happen the right way.