by Debra Gould, MS
When times are tough, it's tempting for managers and business owners alike, to hunker down and wait it out. Competition increases, and tempers can get strained.
Instead of focusing on scarcity (scarcity of profits, customers, suppliers, etc.), there is another option: we could focus on confidence. We could reach out instead of pulling back.
Here are a few ideas to help get you started:
1. Form Strategic Alliances
Chances are your business is loosely related to other businesses in your area, servicing the same customers. For instance, customers who use a CPA probably enlist the services of a professional investment counselor, or a lawyer. The people in these industries could form a strategic alliance and offer customers a reduced rate if they bought "package" services.
Strategic alliances can equally be used in the workplace. Make sure to identify other people in roles that complement yours. This way, you can service clients (or even your employer) by using a tag-team approach. This can dramatically impact your or your business in a positive way.
2. Develop Joint Ventures
A joint venture is when two companies agree to share resources and capital in order to succeed as a team.
Why think about a joint venture? Well, joint ventures can be a wonderful way to increase your market share and revenues, develop new technology, reduce costs or eliminate barriers of entry into your market.
Most of the time joint ventures work much like strategic alliances. Often, however, competitors will form a joint venture if they can both bring unique skills or technology to the table.
The idea behind the joint venture? Don't reinvent the wheel, connect with the one who has!
3. Take Referrals to the Next Level
Are you acting on your referrals? It's surprising how many people let those gold mines go to waste, or don't actively try to get referrals.
Now's the time to take your referrals to the next level. As a business owner, offer incentives to your colleagues and customers to get referrals, and make sure you follow up within 24 hours once they start coming in. Make sure all your customers have your marketing materials to hand out, and make it a goal to provide exceptional customer service so that you keep getting those referrals.
As a manager or employee, keep up with performance reviews (especially the positive feedback). Encourage managers and peers that speak highly of you to document their feedback. Keep a file of your 'testimonials' for present and future opportunities. You never know when a better opportunity may arise, so it's best to dig your well before you're thirsty.
It can be tempting to think that there aren't enough opportunities to go around. But when you approach business and marketing from a "scarcity" mindset, that's exactly what you're going to get. Move forward and take action with confidence instead, and see what happens!
Book Debra, Michelle, Nancy or Carole for your next speaking engagement or training event.