Is the recession over? Some argue the GFC is yet to reach its full climax with the larger downturn set to arrive early next year. None of us know for sure if this will become a reality but we need to prepare ourselves for a battle that may have its worst scenarios yet to come. What can you do now to prepare yourself to be in the best possible position when the recession is over?
The green shoots of recovery are wonderful words of optimism and I am all for ‘cup half full’ forecasts. But for some, particularly in certain industries, we will need to batten down for a longer term, recognising of course, that for some, business is actually booming in these times.
It goes without saying that we are experiencing some of the biggest changes in modern history, both economically and technically. These include an exponential rise in the use of social media, improved technology, a challenged economic climate, global financial pressure, slow cashflow cycles and increasing competition. It is pessimistic to espouse doom and gloom but for the most successful brands, risk management and caution prevails. There are many things you can do now to ensure you are in the best possible position to rise and survive, and rise stronger.
Sieve the business
It is not too late to pick up your business and sieve it as if you were sifting flour. Let only the essential ingredients remain. Or if you let it flow through, recognise it is not essential, but an added ingredient you will keep watch on carefully. Get rid of everything that wasn’t or isn’t working. This should be a first step.
Now is the time to look at all aspects of your business from your offering, your partners, your staff, to your brand, the database, current and potential customers right through to the suppliers you use. This process will allow a re-look at how the business is run and give you the opportunity to improve how the business operates and where you can reduce costs or even make investment.
It’s never too late to do it again! Check over your business with a fine tooth comb:
- Identify its STRENGTHS
- Examine its WEAKNESSES
- Research all your OPPORTUNITIES
- Recognise the THREATS.
Turn it on its head
This is your chance to throw out traditional thinking. Hard times make you think and challenge you to look at things in new ways. Recession or economic downturn—whichever reality you’ve bought into—provides new opportunities: new products, new services, new processes and increased focus. With the economy under strain, the temptation is to put new products and new business developments on the back burner. However historically, tumultuous economic times have produced great innovations. Consider how to expand your offerings or make your service available to a new industry and/or clients. Research your customers and how to respond and adapt to changing customer needs.
While, it’s natural for people to focus on security and survival, this is the ideal time to cut through and make a difference, while still remaining cautious.
It’s all about contacts
There has never been a better time to use networking to increase your sphere of influence. Most companies and professionals grow either in reputation or sales by referral or word of mouth. Business can be generated from meeting someone face to face so it is has never been more important to be ‘out there’ mixing with influencers, champions or potential buyers who can influence the success and sales of your business and yourself.
Champion your own brand
In this highly competitive environment and with the dominance of social media, never before has your personal brand been more important. The economic climate, however challenging, is full of positive opportunities for those prepared to search.
You are the captain of your brand. Only the most confident, resilient experts in your field will survive the next 24 months. Hesitate and you are out. Focus and you can emerge stronger, surer and way ahead of the field. Even during periods of robust growth, it is important to steal market share by developing your personal brand, and as a consequence increase your company profile.