ADVERTISEMENT

Looking Positively at the ‘R’ Word

March 2008 Corporate

There is an old Christmas tale about the child who finds nothing under the Christmas tree but a pile horse manure.  Rather than be upset, the child is ecstatic.  “Somebody must have bought me a pony,” the child shrieks.

While all the doom and gloom prognosticators are flouting the ‘R’ word (Recession), as an entrepreneur I view recessions as a tremendous opportunity.  In my career, adversity has powered great growth spurts for me.  Don’t think of the upcoming recession as a period of marking time, but as an opportunity to move your business faster and further.

Many of the big marketing organizations have come to realize that recessions offer the opportunity for large market-share gains.  While competitors are cutting back, the smart companies will increase their advertising and marketing activities.  Not only will this boost in spending increase the decibels, advertisers can buy more space and time for less.  Thus do they not only get more bang for their buck – it’s a louder bang.

While all you competitors are buttoning down the hatches and rigging for foul weather, here are some concrete ways to move forward while others are standing still.  And, because you might have more time during the downturn, use this TIME as a resource and invest it instead of your MONEY.

Here are 10 ideas:

  1. Update your data bases.  Expand your mailing lists; look to new markets and new segments that you never had the time to pursue before.
  2. Transform your Web Site(s).  Chances are your Web site is old and shop worn.  Use your new found time to update and enhance your site(s) and look to providing links to other sites.  Re-think and freshen the image you show to the world.
  3. Create a blog.  Find some area of your business or your practice where you have extraordinary expertise and develop informative materials in the form of a blog.  The best news, blogs can be free and Google has developed a number of excellent templates. .
  4. Network like you never have before.  Meet present and prospective customers and clients for breakfast, lunch or coffee.  Learn about their businesses and look for ways to help them.  Helping others is the real key to helping yourself.
  5. Put together a speech and/or PowerPoint Presentation.  Provide information that is meaningful to target markets you hope to serve.  In putting together these presentations, don’t be overly concerned about promoting yourself.  Be more concerned about the content that you are communicating.
  6. E-Mail Marketing.  It costs virtually nothing.  Discover the greatest needs of your present and prospective clients or customers and create an e-mail letter than shows them how your unique competency can help them.  Ask them to e-mail you back for more information.  (see separate article on e-mail techniques)
  7. Develop articles.  Even if your articles are not published, put them on your Website, and use them to sell your services.
  8. Case Histories.  Develop them and put them on your Website.  You don’t have to be specific about the company, client or customer but simply explain the problem and how you solved it.
  9. Testimonials.  Get your best clients or customers and to write letters explaining how your services helped them.  If the client or customer is reluctant to write or doesn’t know what to say, offer to write it for them for their signature.
  10. Stay busy and positive.  Even though your business may suffer a little bit in the short run in terms of sales and profits, you’ll be busy and active.  Your enthusiasm will be contagious and you will discover new opportunities under every rock.  You’ll be meeting new people and finding new ways to help your clients and customers.  Before you know it, the recession will be over and you’ll be miles ahead of where you were when it started.


About the author

James T. Berger, Managing Editor of The Wiglaf Journal, through his Northbrook-based firm, James T. Berger/Market Strategies, offers a broad range of marketing communications, research and strategic planning consulting services. In addition, he provides expert services to intellectual property attorneys in the area of trademark infringement litigation. An adjunct professor of marketing at Roosevelt University, he previously has taught at Northwestern University, DePaul University, University of Illinois at Chicago and The Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan (BA), Northwestern University (MS) and the University of Chicago (MBA). Berger is an often-published free lance business writer who has developed more than 100 published articles in the last eight years. For more information, visit www.jamesberger.net or telephone him at (847) 328-9633.

James T. Berger
More by James T. Berger