Yesterday, the West Palm Beach Post reported “the widow of publishing heir Randolph Hearst saw her 52-room mansion on Manalapan’s beach sold along with 70 other properties in a foreclosure auction Monday at the Palm Beach County Courthouse.” What? Even mansions are going into foreclosure now? This kind of news is really getting to be a downer.
Are we in a “Recession”? Recession is defined as two quarters in a row of declining figures on the economy (generally gross domestic product). But for small business owners we define recession a little differently…and we measure it based upon how it affects our bottom line! If more clients are canceling than signing up, then our small business indicator reads “recession”.
So, enough already with focusing on the problem. Even if your business isn’t feeling the heat, the media pounds the gloom and doom right into your thoughts, and your clients’.
Instead, focus on the solution. Build a recession-proof business, and once the dust settles and the experts figure out whether or not they really think we are in a recession or not, you’ll be miles ahead of the game.
There are Recession-Proof businesses that are either not affected by recession, or even improve during a down times. Of course, there are the usual death and taxes businesses that are not affected by it at all really. But, other industries like repair services, health care, elderly services, resume writing, secretarial and fast food also thrive in recession.
If you play your cards right you could have a recession-proof business too. There has been a growing trend in the US for a while now that I have seen in my consulting business and that is the number of households who are moonlighting with a second job or a business to make ends meet or get ahead. If the economy slumps people are going to work more…and when you work more you have less time to maintain your home and lifestyle. The busier one is, then the more they need support services (like the help with home and life) that you provide. You need to position yourself as an “essential service” for the care and maintenance of a busy home.
I gave you some tips on Recession-proofing your business in my August 2007 article “Businesses Preparing for a Changing Economy”. I would like to focus on one of the tips (listed below), and add to it some specific changes that you can make.
“Get Organized and Strengthen Your Processes. Do you have inefficiencies in your systems? Does your office make mistakes that cost you customers and money? Do you have prospects that you don’t market to? Now is time to tighten up those money leaks. Put systems into place that help your business run itself! Lose fewer customers, make less costly mistakes, decrease administration labor costs, close more sales, train your employees to make you more money. No matter what the economy does, your company will benefit from these changes.”
Systems Build Efficiency and Stop Your Business From Wasting Money
1. Marketing systems. Marketing, follow-up, up-sells, promotions, etc. are all essential systems in a recession-proof business. Don’t let any leads fall through the cracks, and follow-up repeatedly with absolutely everyone. Every week and month have systems in place to be sure that your marketing gets done.
2. Customer service systems. Mishandled calls, undocumented requests, scheduling snafus, etc. are all inefficiencies that you cannot afford in a tight economy.
3. Financial Systems. Revenue processing, job costing, collections, report analyzing, are all systems that can ensure that you are corking your money leaks.
4. Gain a competitive edge with professionalism. When the wallet is getting empty clients might be more willing to consider “under the table” cleaners to clean their home on the cheap. Business owners should be aware that during belt-tightening times its “game on” for you and your competition. And, you have a chance to get a competitive edge by being the most professional, easiest to use, most hassle-free company in town. If every interaction with the client is like clockwork you are strides beyond your sloppy, late, gossipy, crazy competition.
5. Squelch the Time Robbers. Look for all losses of time in your business. Every loss of time is a missed opportunity to be marketing and selling. Where you find a loss of time, that’s a spot for a system to shore up that loss.
6. No “fear” systems allowed. Don’t let fear drive you. Canceling all of your advertising, for example, could only lead to a shrinking business. Advertising is a numbers game, when times are tough you need to market more, not less.
So put these systems in place, and focus on ACTION and you will find yourself with your “eyes on the prize” instead of distracted by the chaos around you.
For more on my August 2007 article, “Businesses Preparing for a Changing Economy” you can go to (http://scrubpronews.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2007-08-24T09%3A38%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=3) .