In a down economy, it's easy to fall into a rut of doom and gloom. You hear negative reports on the news daily about the state of the nation's finances.
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You hear sad stories from your friends and family members who are out of work. And it's hard not to notice the empty storefronts in urban areas and foreclosure signs on the lawns of homes.
But even in times like these, it's still important to maintain the can-do attitude that helped you become a successful entrepreneur in the first place. So here are some suggestions for business owners on how to make the best out of a bad situation.
Merge with or purchase struggling companies. Like they say, two heads are better than one. So instead of looking for ways to downsize your own company, consider seeking out entrepreneurs in similar straits who may need a partner. Both of you could benefit from the knowledge and expertise of each other while availing yourselves of the economies of scale achieved from a merger.
Focus on the future. Recessions won't last forever, and you'll need to hit the ground running when the current one ends. So invest in training initiatives, marketing efforts, and company improvements so you can take advantage of them when sales pick up again. You can also cross-train employees for different tasks and departments during slow periods.
Highlight your indispensability. If you're worried about losing the customers you currently have, tweak your marketing to portray to them the consequences of losing your company's services. During a recession, it's natural for businesses to cling to what they can count on, so make sure that your enterprise falls into that category for your clients. With a little creativity, you can also adopt a similar approach to entice new customers.
Showcase your ROI. Similarly, you should convince your customers that they're getting a lot of bang for their buck. In some situations, it can be difficult to tie your business's offerings to tangible results. Therefore, you should point out the return on investment that your clients are getting from your company.
Keep the workers you have. After you have cut your payroll as much as you dare, be sure to be proactive in keeping those employees who are left. This usually means communicating with them about the state of your company (including the bad news) and seeking their input on how to hold the line on costs. If your retention efforts are successful, your employees are likely to stay with you throughout the recession and beyond.
Have fun. Don't let the gloomy economy permeate your office atmosphere. Try to inject a little fun into the workplace. Definitely do not cancel any parties or regular amusements just to save a few bucks. Maintaining high corporate morals will trickle down to your clients in the form of excellent service – which can set you apart from your competition during tough economic times.
Just because the nation is in a recession doesn't necessarily mean you have to actively participate in it. If you're constantly striving to make lemonade out of lemons, positive results will soon follow.