Is Your Head Stuck In a Recession?


Watching the news these days doesn’t leave one with much hope for the future, when all we’re hearing is about inflation, unemployment and national debt.  Reports are spreading of an ongoing recession and even a possible depression before things get better.  So what is an entrepreneur to do?  Constantly trying to keep your head above water can get discouraging when you have nothing solid to look towards.  As much as I’d like to bury my head in the sand sometimes, I know that’s not a viable option.  Instead, I practice the Stockdale Paradox, which is to retain faith, regardless of the difficulties, AND confront the brutal facts, whatever they may be.

imagesThe fact is, things are not good out there, but this does not mean that there is no money or opportunity.

Let’s first consider how we view the world around us.  The word recession is defined as two consecutive, negative quarters of economic activity.  Does that mean that everyone stops spending money and the economy comes to a complete halt?  Not at all!  Now consider this:  the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the US was at $14.54 trillion in the 3rd quarter of 2008, on an annualized basis, just before the financial meltdown.  That number never fell below $14.24 trillion, even at its lowest point in the first quarter of 2009.  So what does this mean to you?  There was still over $14 trillion being spent in the economy every year; money that you could be hustling for a share of.

Even though the overall drop was not significant, some industry sectors took a tragic hit, as much as 50%, while others grew by 20% or 30%.  In times like this, the Clipper Ship Strategy can be useful by positioning yourself to where your money is being spent.  This isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do, especially with big industrial and manufacturing centers.  It’s a little more feasible to move towards the money if you’re in the service sector, and much easier for information based businesses.  The point here is just to keep moving.

Something else to try and practice, and not just when times aretough, but all the time, is to focus on what you do best and hire others to do what they do best.  The simplest way to put it is to play to your strengths.  For example, we have engaged Kopp Consulting to go out and do our cultivating of new business for us, since our strength lies in the relationships and solutions, not sales.  Obtaining new business is a venture that requires focus and attention.  In our experience, when the relationship team is trying to do the job of the cultivation team, we lose focus and don’t see optimal results.

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Kopp learns about your business and has their own secret sauceto finding the right clientele and getting you in front of them.  In the months ahead I will share more of our experience with what Kopp is doing for us. 

My last thought on this topic is this question: how hard do we make it for our customers to find us?  Go ask everyone in your office if they have used the phone book in the last week, and then ask them the same question about Google.  I have seen it done and the difference is eye opening.    Content and key words are key to getting found in search engines.  Have you Googled yourself lately?

So with a recession in the air, are you keeping the faith, confronting the brutal facts, focusing on what you do best, and can your customers find you? 




Opening Doors is Priority One!


 

Awhile back, I shared that we were working with a door-opening company called Kopp Consulting. Caryn Kopp and her team assist other companies in finding new clients by having a team of former senior management professionals use Kopp’s secret sauce to get you appointments and allow you open door3to do your thing.  What an informative experience!  Working with Kopp helped us design and focus our message to best tailor it to our core clients, and they helped us connect with even more clients and businesses.

How do they do it?  I am not privy to all their tricks of the trade, but I know they are paid to get appointments, and they do.  They know what to say to get past the screeners and to get appointments set.  They helped us gain access to numerous companies that we had not been involved with before.

I just came across an article shared on LinkedIn that suggests you should have people for cultivating leads, a separate team for closing the sales, and then another group to service them. Having professionals with strengths in different areas of the sales cycle is supported in this article.  To read it, click here.

The main objective of any business is to connect with the people who have the problem that their business’ product or service can solve.  This is the life blood of any company.  It keeps everyone employed, keeps bills paid, and with the right strategy and management, keeps profits flowing to expand and help even more people.

Yes your heard that right Occupy Wall-Streeters.  Most companies want to help others.  If they didn’t help their customers, people would not buy what they have to offer.  Living in a free county, and I hope it stays that way, no one is forced to spend their money with a company.  In fact, some companies have people so excited to spend their money there that they will stand in line for quite a while.  Think Apple, Starbucks, and that popular restaurant that you go to when another nearby sits empty.

The goal for any businesses is to keep their customers happy, so they not only keep coming back for more but also tell others.  When your company is newer, is not well known, or hasn’t gone viral, firms like Kopp can be just what is needed to get you in the door.