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6 Ways To Recession-Proof Your Business
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
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
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
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 cashflow, 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
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 in
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.
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By Jay Conrad Levinson
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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.
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