According to an interesting comparison published by CNN Money, the Great Depression was much worse than what we’re all going through now. Whether or not you concur with that assessment, have you thought about ways to thrive, not merely survive, during these tough economic times? Here are a few ideas:
Speak to your primary audiences and refine your message
Assuming you’ve done the difficult work of determining your primary audiences’ needs, it’s more critical than ever to make sure your messaging is compelling, consistent, and targeted. Focus on honing your USP (unique selling proposition) and how your organization can provide valuable products and services that benefit your customers most.
Work with long-term partners
Long-term partners offer value in a variety of ways. In many cases, they’ll take time to understand your needs and strengths, and will help you strategize and implement a plan to accomplish your goals. Most importantly, long-term partners tend to make decisions that help all parties, and support strong, mutually-beneficial relationships.
Explore your options
Not getting enough value from your current business partners? Consider that a new provider may be able to save you money, offer more value, or provide a more creative or strategic perspective. In some cases, simply having an honest discussion with current partners about your challenges can point the way to more effective solutions.
When running your firm, focus on what matters most: taking care of your employees and investing in your future. Hiring and retaining top-notch talent and engaging in long-term marketing strategies can help position your firm to thrive as we come out of the current recession.
Focus on brand experience
As we’ve explored in previous articles, branding isn’t just about your logo or tagline — it’s about the entire experience customers have about your firm (click here to read how we define ‘branding’). Of course, your products and services are very important, but how you provide them is even more important. Now is a good time to refine your brand so that you’re well positioned for the economic turnaround.
Be flexible and adaptable
As a small firm, our flexibility is a key benefit to our clients. We’re able to move quickly and decisively to address their needs and adapt to changing circumstances. Even during ‘normal’ economic times, it’s critical to be able to adapt. However, adaptability may be even more important now.
Our firm’s team members are its most valuable asset, so ensuring their continuous improvement is an ongoing priority. During these difficult economic times, if your firm isn’t as busy as it could be, investing in your employees’ knowledge and skill set will undoubtedly pay big dividends in the future.
Invest in your future
During tough times, some organizations make the mistake of cutting their marketing budgets. In reality, it’s a great time to increase market share by investing in marketing, especially if you’re going after your higher-priced competitors’ clients. Now may also be a good time to bolster your firm’s expertise and staff by hiring new employees while it’s somewhat of an employer’s market.
People panic for two main reasons: first, they let emotions take control; and second, they either haven’t planned, or they’ve lost sight of their plan. If you stay the course and take time to make sure you’re following a strategic plan, your firm can actually benefit in the long-term from these difficult (but almost certainly short-term) economic challenges.
Most of all, keep your head in the game
As any coach will tell you, adversity happens. When it does, it’s important to stick to basics and follow your game plan. In today’s economic climate, if you stay focused on basic strategies like those I’ve presented here, your business will have a better chance of not only outlasting the downturn, but also emerging on the other side better positioned to succeed.