Meadow CreekNews

Don’t Sit Out the Recovery

Filed under Business Management, Economy, Marketing, Small Business, Venture Capital and Start Ups on July 9, 2009

If you have been keeping up with my articles and blogs, you already knew the recovery would be under way and this summer would be a welcome relief from the agony of the past year. If you have not, then the recent economic news and pronouncements of the end being in sight by people in high places may have come as something of a surprise given all of their negative thinking, lowering of expectations and blame gaming we’ve been subjected to for the past year. Unfortunately, our leader has also claimed victory and credited his stimulus plan for recent gains despite the fact that hardly any money has yet to be spent. My readers would have seen that coming as well.

So now we are at bottom and the question is how fast will the economy recover and when will the price tag for all of the bailouts, stimulus spending and runaway government politically motivated spending come back at us like a ton of bricks. The answer to the first question is probably faster than most people think. Given the severity of the recession and the length of the downturn, there is a tremendous amount of pent up consumer demand. This will be somewhat tempered by banks, still licking their wounds over the humiliation of being caught handing out money like pretzels at a happy hour, they will undoubtedly find a new sense of conservatism and money will become very hard to come by. As for the latter, the threat of inflation hangs over our heads like the sword of Damocles and there’s nothing we can do about it now.

For the small business, most of that is rather academic in any case. The bottom line is that opportunities will abound. If you haven’t been taking the initiative as I have recommended and pouring on the marketing during all of this unpleasantness, you should start now. Yes, you do need to start getting your balances sheet in order. Paying down some debt is a great idea if you’ve been strapped for cash, but the best way to do that is to make as much money as you can this coming year and that means a crash program on sales and marketing.

Spend some time rethinking your strategy, and if you don’t have one, this would be a good time to get it done. With the changes that have taken place and having reset our position in the economic cycle:

  • Are your target markets still appropriate?
  • Do you have the right set of products and services?
  • Are your old competitors still there and are there any new ones?
  • Are your top customers still around, will they continue to be?
  • Is your pricing still competitive and reflect the value of your offering?
  • Who’s making their payments on time and who isn’t?
  • Have the needs and priorities of your market changed?
  • Any new laws, regulations, standards taxes etc. that will affect the way you do business?

As long as I’ve hit some of the marketing Ps, let’s not forget pricing and packaging. Your customers may be willing to spend more, but they will continue to be cautious. Providing extended terms or selling products and services in longer term contracts with upfront cost billed throughout the life of the contract may be more appealing. Make sure you have a teaser offering that is very economical to lure in new customers and demonstrate your value. This is a good time to experiment.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on LinkedInPrint this pageEmail this to someone