Friday, April 3, 2009

Riding the Recession Wave

Contributed by guest blogger Valeska Griffiths

Plunging stocks, massive layoffs, tentative consumers? That's the landscape, all right.

While it’s true that times are tough right now, that doesn’t mean that you should just give up, sell off your assets, and hide away in a bunker full of canned beans and bottled water until the economy recovers. We’ve assembled a short list of quick tips to help ease you through the squeeze, perhaps with the result that your business winds up stronger than it was before the crunch.

1. Diversify
One-trick ponies have an unfortunate propensity to become endangered species in chilly economic climes. Now is the time to evolve. Expand your line of products and services wherever possible. The more you have to offer, the more chance you have of staying afloat. But beware of making the mistake that enthusiastic companies like Danbel Industries did -- in the last slowdown, they overextended by buying up lots of other troubled lighting suppliers, knowing that there was real value in the client lists and inventories. Indeed there was, but long after it was too late for Danbel.

2. Think Outside The Box
As clichéed as that phrase is, a recession is an ideal time to set yourself apart from and above the competition. Differentiation should be the goal in any economic situation, but during a downturn it is particularly important to shine brightly and grab attention. So take a fresh look at your marketing materials. Re-evaluate your business model. Turn your previous strategies on their heads, and see what you can come up with.

3. Boost Morale
If your business is feeling the pinch, then it is highly likely that your employees are feeling it too. A failure to address the issues affecting your company can have a detrimental effect on company morale and greatly increase employee stress. Regular meetings and brainstorming sessions can help with this, particularly if they both address the negative issues and end on a positive note. A tightly-knit, optimistic team is more productive than a loose collection of anxious, alienated souls.

4. Don’t Play The Wallflower
Network, network, network. Call old clients to check in. Introduce yourself to potential new ones. Be visible to the point of omnipresence. Schmooze as though your business depended on it, because it just may.

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