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8 Tips That Will Help You Recession-Proof Your Business

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By Richard Simmons

It's no secret that the recession is slowing down. Here are 8 Tips that will help your business survive the recession whilst others are left scratching their heads.

1. Don't Pretend To Be Immune

One of the biggest mistakes business owners make during a slowdown is to pretend their company isn't being affected. Ad slogans such as "The economy may be crashing, but our business is booming," come to mind. There are two problems with this approach:

a) You are lying to your customers and

b) You are lying to yourself.

Instead, acknowledge the slowdown and prepare for its effects. Remember, sticking your head in the sand may work for an ostrich, but not for a business owner.

2. Don't Appear Desperate

Here's an excellent example of what not to say to a potential client:

"Things are really slow for the company right now. Do you have any work you could send our way?"

Sounding as if you don't know where your next job, or meal for that matter, is coming from is not the way to instill confidence in clients. And without confidence, few clients will trust you with their projects or their money.

Instead, call up a past client or a new lead and say:

"I just wanted to give you a call to see if you had any projects you could use my help with."

It's more professional, more customer-focused, and more likely to land you some work.

3. Do Not Stop. I Repeat. Do Not Stop Marketing

When times are tough, it's natural for you to want to cut corners, but cutting back on your advertising and marketing will not save your company, it will doom it.

Ask yourself this question: If a rival business drops its marketing campaigns to save money, and you go out and create some catchy, attention-getting, cost-effective promotions - which business is most likely to survive - yours or the competition?

Market like mad and you'll stay ahead even during the worst slowdowns.

4. Don't Skimp On Quality Or Quantity

In your efforts to trim the fat from company expenses, you should be careful not to cut back on what you give your clients.

Remember that the two qualities of your product that most determine customer satisfaction are quality and quantity. If your cutbacks are adversely affecting either of these areas, you're in for trouble.

Keeping the customers happy and going the extra mile to please and over-deliver will keep you away from the unemployment line.

5. Don't Develop A Negative Mental Attitude

Tough economic times are hard on everyone, and it's easy to feel hopeless about the future when everything looks grim, but keep in mind that the only thing constant in the world is change. So what goes up, must go down, and vice versa.

If you feel like you'll never get another customer or sell another product, you probably won't.

The key is your attitude: if you're confident in your company, clients will be too.

6. Don't Simply Cut Overhead

When times are tough, it may seem downsizing your workforce or hanging on to your ancient equipment for another year or two are the easiest ways to stabilise your business. These may be quick fixes, but not only are they temporary solutions, they may also hurt your business in the long run. Instead of cutting back, take a proactive aggressive approach to increasing sales and only slash your overhead as a last resort.

7. Don't Cut Prices Too Low

With money tight, you may believe that a dramatic price drop will give you a significant advantage over competitors, and it might. But the wise business owner knows that short-term gains may not be worth the long-term costs.

When you slash prices, it is nearly impossible to bring them back up to their original level. And face it, if your prices are too low, you won't be earning enough to cover your own expenses.

Of course offering discounts or specials to make your fees more reasonable is always an option; just make sure your offers are for a limited-time only.

8. Don't Keep Your Expertise to Yourself

One of the easiest ways to land a project or add a new client is to give her advice. Not only does your professional know-how instill clients with confidence, but offering free advice also demonstrates your dedication to helping customers. Even if not every one you advice ends up using your service, you will leave a positive impression on all of them. And a positive impression can be more valuable to your company than a dozen clients.

By following these eight guidelines, you'll be able to weather the economic storm and come out shining once it's over. Economic slowdowns are inevitable; it's the way you choose to handle them which will determine whether your company loses the battle and fades into oblivion or comes out on top.

Richard Simmons is a respected IT and Marketing Consultant and has been involved in Internet technology since 1996. He works with major blue-chip companies and investment banks and advises countless small and home based businesses. Richard is uniquely gifted in that he has a deep understanding of both Technology and Marketing industries combined. Contact him personally at richard@crimsondirect.com. You'll also discover some of his uniquely creative business building articles and resources at http://www.crimsondirect.com.