Most businesses are facing major challenges as they try to survive the current economic downturn. High costs combined with lower revenue produce a downward spiral for individual businesses and the economy as a whole.
For a business to survive in this environment, it must lower costs and position itself to better compete moving forward. We are likely facing a deflationary period in which prices drop, and many businesses will be forced to lower prices simply to stay competitive.
Try to find silver linings amidst the dark economic clouds. Do what you can to make your business a lean, mean, fighting machine. This means cutting costs while improving your products and marketing efforts.
Understandably, many businesses are reluctant to increase any costs at this time, but some spending may be necessary to position your business to survive and compete in a downward economy. Just as the U.S. federal government plans to spend to stimulate this economy, your business may need to spend wisely to stimulate sales.
One-time expenses to improve your technology infrastructure will likely result in improved efficiency for your business. Use any downtime to build database systems to replace your antiquated spreadsheets and paperwork. This will enable you and your staff to soon focus on sales, marketing, and customer services – and to do it better and more nimbly moving forward. If you do not have quick access to all of your business information and sales contacts, you need systems in place to increase your effeciency.
What is your web presence? How can you improve it? The web is only going to continue to increase in importance. If your business does not have a website now, you most likely need to get on the web as soon as possible. If your website is outdated or missing the depth of your competitors’ websites, you need to upgrade. Your website must be an integral part of your sales, marketing, and customer service. If your website is not assisting in all of these areas, you must address this or your business may not survive.
Database and website solutions do not need to be highly expensive or overly time-consuming. These are necessary business expenses that position your business to compete during difficult times. Once the economy turns around (and the good news is that it will eventually), your business will have the right infrastracture to grow.
Use the web to market your business and promote your website. Many online networking tools have enabled businesses to reach a wider audience. Send out email newsletters to your clients, customers, and prospects. Start a blog for your business so you can post new information quickly and often. Providing free useful information helps people find you.