Improving Your Business in an Economic Slow Down

Now is the very best time to take a look at your business to help you move it forward.

Here are some tips on how to make that happen.

1. Find out what your competition is doing

This is a really fantastic opportunity to let your sales and customer service staff get reacquainted with past customers and communicate with current ones and through their discussions find out what your competition is doing.

Old customers are one of the best sources for competitor intelligence information, they left you for some reason, now is the time to find out why and what it would take to gain back their business. Was it price? Was it service? Was it quality? Were there performance issues? Maybe the competition just had a better product. Get as many details as possible to help bring improvements to your product and/or service.


Keep in mind that your old customers might also be in a "slow" period due to the slow down, so they may welcome talking or meeting with you find out how you can help them!


2. Training

Like most businesses you'll go through periods of time when you really couldn't afford the time people would need to be away from the business to learn new skills? Well right now could be the right time to allow them out to hone their skills or develop new ones by sending them to seminars and workshops (these can be really useful and cost effective). Or bring in a trainer to help teach team building, teach teams how to be more creative, or develop sales and customer service skills.

If you are concerned about the cost of outside training, why not cross-train your employees internally so your team is more flexible to deal with business issues going forward.


3. Don't cut your marketing budget

Chances are this is what your competitors are doing, and cutting yours too will simply mean that you could miss out on good market opportunities.

That said, a careful review of your marketing spend is sensible, look at what you are doing and why.


4. Check your Sales Literature

Now is a good opportunity for you to check your sales literature and web site to see if the sales messages are still working for you or whether you might need a refresh.


5. Revise your business plan

This is one of the most critical activities that you will need to perform if you are feeling a slow down in business.

Chances are your sales forecast will need to be revised, which means your overall budget will need to change. Get your business plan up to date so you and your employees have a solid strategy to work towards.


6. Ask your employees for suggestions

It's not just said for fun, your employees are you best asset, they know your business well and either know your customers or your internal processes and systems extremely well.

Find out what ideas they have for a new product or service, or how to make improvements to save money or increase performance.


7. Network

This is one of the best source of leads for any size business. Join a peer group, find a breakfast club, get back involved with a trade association, speak to existing customers. Nurture these sources and they will bring you business.


8. Remain positive

Listen to the news, read the newspapers or specialist press, and business gloom and doom is everywhere. You can't ignore it, it's always there reminding us how bad it is!

But is isn't always bad, chances are that you have a good core business, with great employees, focus on that. Get back to basics. What motivated you when you got into business? Revive the positive attitude and enthusiasm that made you successful in the first place.

Keep away from all those negative influences.

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