“Change before you have to.”
“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.”
And, “timid salespeople have skinny kids.”
The business realm is filled with seemingly valuable nuggets of wisdom and inspirational quotes all designed to motivate the “movers and shakers” of the day to put their best foot forward, conquer the competition, and reap the rewards of success. But what advice do these entrepreneurs extraordinaire have for the business person who is trying to grow a company in a shrinking market?
A defeatist attitude will lead to–you guessed it–defeat;therefore, the first thing you need to do when your company faces an obstacle is welcome the challenge as a chance to learn and become a stronger company. While no one is saying you need to do a cartwheel while chanting, “we love corporate claw backs,” it is important to avoid adopting a negative stance.
“7 Reasons Great Companies Rise to the Top, Even During Recessions” states that great companies are motivated by recessions to get closer to their customers, reassess their direction, and take action in new and creative ways. How you perceive your company’s ability to overcome challenges will greatly impact how well it performs.
Your loyal customers are more than a source of reliable income–they also represent a treasure trove of valuable information. By soliciting their feedback, you will be able to ascertain where your business is meeting their needs and where it is failing.
When you consider the fact that your customers are the ones who will, in the long run, determine the fate of your business, it makes sense that they should play a vital role in your company’s plan of attack for the future.
In order to thrive during lean times, you need to maintain a healthy cash flow. If you are owed money, now is the time to collect. Valuable customers are the ones that actually pay for the product or service they have received. The ones who don’t can take their business elsewhere.
This may seem harsh and contrary to everything you’ve learned in business school, but consider the following case presented in Inc.’s “Fast Growth in a Slow Economy.” When the failing Nashville company, Allen Printing hired a turnaround specialist, it was discovered that 45 of its clients were more than 90 days past due, owing more than $200,000. After embarking on a campaign of “firing their worst customers,” they collected 80 percent of what they were owed and now are able to focus on providing their paying customers with top-notch service and more competitive pricing.
Sometimes, weathering an economic downturn involves relocating your business. Whether this means meeting your customers where they are, moving to cut down on transportation costs, or simply finding a spot in a moneyed neighborhood, the secret to success can come down to–here comes another corporate cliché–location, location, location.
“4 Ways Hospitals are Dealing to Survive and Thrive,” for example, explains how some hospitals are choosing to place new facilities in areas that have a substantial privately insured population in an effort to make ends meet.
If the current economic situation has you down, look at the success stories around you. Many companies have more than simply weathered recessions–they have thrived. Your company can become a pillar of the business world, enjoying a long and prosperous future.
Want to attract new leads to your business? You will want to check out “How Do You Generate Leads with Content Marketing” for some great advice.
Kimberley Laws is a regular contributor to HowDoYou.com and the author of two blogs, The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss. A "Jill of all trades," she is a High School English Teacher and Certified Career Counselor with a background in makeup artistry, retail banking, and graphic design. She is also a scrapbooking, PEZ-collecting, car enthusiast who loves travelling and New York City.
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