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-Our guest blogger Jay Conrad Levinson is the author of the best-selling marketing series in history, “Guerrilla Marketing,” plus 30 other books. His books have sold 14 million copies worldwide. His guerrilla concepts have influenced marketing so much that today his books appear in 41 languages and are required reading in many MBA programs worldwide. He was a teacher and sounding board for The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. and Marion Ross, Ph.D.) ; and after many discussions strongly encouraged us to publish a book (soon to be released) designed to assist people who struggle with implementing tools learned in business or entrepreneurial coaching programs due to self-sabotage. For more on Jay Conrad Levinson visit www.gmarketing.com
6 Ways To Recession-Proof Your Business
All businesses are having to adjust quickly to some stark new realities. In this current environment of seesawing markets – surging and then sagging commodities, volatile currencies – huge gains… then huge drops in stock prices – it’s getting harder than ever to predict what’s going to happen.
I can recall fairly recent conversations (pre-crisis) I had with a number of people outside the USA who felt their business was insulated from the issues here. But, as always, that’s not the case. Everything is interrelated… and if a major economic engine like the US economy ”sneezes”… then everyone “gets a cold.”
Preparing for the inevitable
Most businesses have now felt what this economic crisis means in practical, day-to-day terms. It translates into decreased activity, cancelled orders, lower profits, and perhaps… having to cut costs to the bone – which hampers your ability to operate effectively.
If there’s one thing that’s for sure… no one knows how far this mess goes to finally unwind and return to an acceptable balance. Eventually though, we’ll all get through this… and overall business will again be on the rise as the pendulum ultimately swings the other way. But, in the meanwhile – you’ll need to take steps to make sure your business survives and is able to operate at a pace that’s adjusted to your own personal circumstances.
That said, let’s get into 6 specific ways that can help weather the storm… deal with all this change and uncertainty… and help you recession-proof your business:
1) Go to where the consistent buyers are —
In every business, there are always a certain number of your customers or clients who simply need what you offer – and their buying is relatively insulated from the current economy. You can and should concentrate your efforts on promoting to them specifically to build buying frequency – and actively try to find more buyers just like them.
If you aren’t currently able to identify these people in your own clientele, then create a promotion designed to attract them. You can focus your promotional theme (positioning) in a way that that appeals… and would specifically be attractive to… those who’s buying habits are unaffected by the overall economy. Knowing who they are helps you target better.
2) Go to the persistent markets —
Focus on identifying and finding markets or groups of people (associations, trade groups, clubs, etc.) – who have an ongoing need and/or requirement for what you’re offering. And, if you can, lock-in business by setting-up exclusive provider arrangements with these groups.
Let me suggest that, more than likely, there are overlooked and completely unexplored markets that could potentially be a good fit for your business. Perhaps even a large number of different groups – and niches of individuals who would be responsive to your offers – that you have not even considered before.
3) Go to where the money is —
This one may seem pretty obvious once I say it, but unfortunately, it isn’t always completely thought through with the clarity it might take to make the statement useful: Sell to people who HAVE money.
There’s a famous quote that’s attributed to William “Willie” Sutton, a prolific US bank robber from the 1930’s: “Why do you rob banks?”… Reply: “Because that’s where the money is.” The quote formed the basis of Sutton’s law which is taught to medical students – which states that in attempting to diagnose a problem, one should first do the experiment that can confirm the most likely diagnosis. For our purposes here… it means “go to where the money is.”
4) Offer help and relief to those who are in pain —
Pain can take many forms… and isn’t always physical. People who are in financial trouble are in mental and psychological pain – and want relief just as desperately. The main problem dealing with people in this condition is that they don’t have much money to spend. But, they might have some. They might have good cash flow, just not enough.
If your type of business can be positioned to allow people some relief… afford them some comfort (even if temporary) – you may find that this becomes an attractive proposition. Carefully consider a separately positioned offer to attract people in these circumstances.
5) Offer a solution to a problem —
This one is “tried & true” during positive economic times, but can become a prevailing theme that works even better when times are tough. You want to narrow your marketing messages down to focus on one particular problem or issue at a time. That way, you can get very specific about attracting people who are seeking a solution to that particular problem or issue – and approach them with an offering that will help solve and alleviate it.
But, make sure that you have a specific follow-up-to-conversion process in place that doesn’t dilute the focus with a choice of possibilities - or even worse – that isn’t at all specific to the problem or issue that attracted the prospect in the first place. Sell them “the answer” first - then you can consider other offers once you’ve converted people to the original narrowly focused solution to the original problem.
6) Offer a way out —
If what you’re offering can be positioned as a “life raft” or “escape hatch” in times of emergency – you will have no trouble attracting willing buyers. But, be sure that your product/service fulfills on this promise – or you’ll have a hornet’s nest of dissatisfaction on your hands.
When you are truly able to offer real relief… real escape… from their most pressing problem or issue – this can be one of the most powerful motivators in times of extreme stress. Think along the lines of: “A truck full of plywood rolling through a neighborhood that’s just been informed of an impending hurricane.”
We’ve definitely entered an entirely new chapter in economic history - that will go down as a key turning point after the expansive global economy of the last 15 years.
As an entrepreneur… your ability to be able to plan for the future… and conduct business in a stable and predictable environment – are now in jeopardy for the foreseeable near-term future. What’s needed are drastic actions right now in order to put your business on a successful footing during these tougher times – so you’ll be able to thrive when things finally do change for the better.
– For more on Jay Conrad Levinson visit www.gmarketing.com