The Wairarapa Chamber of Commerce, supporting the local business community

Tips for Challenging Economic Times

Tips for challenging economic timesMany of today’s business owners have never been at the helm during a prolonged downturn. So what you can do to weather the storm?

Track customer satisfaction
Do this at least monthly.

Review all expenditure
Recognising the difference between costs and investment is essential.

Continue to ramp up advertising and marketing, but... 
Ensure it is focused on picking up more of your ideal target clients and clearly highlights your point of sustainable competitive advantage.

Spend money on training staff
As household stress rises, tolerance for poor service declines. Make sure you and your staff are adequately equipped to motivate employees and please customers.

Review your business plan
Make sure you have focused actions with targeted outcomes and methods of tracking progress. If you don’t have a
business plan, create one immediately or get in contact with us.

Practise your sales pitch.
You must know the compelling reason to buy your product or service from you and be able to pitch this to the customer. Ensure it is tailored to the audience, highlights the benefits not features and includes a memorable point of difference. Be clear, concise and enthusiastic.

Profit vs Revenue
You must know which customers, products, services, locations etc provide the most profit. It is likely you will need to cut costs – make sure you are cutting areas where you are already losing money. Sell old stock, review your supply chain, check your terms of trade, collect the money owed to you, perhaps create payment incentives and review your overheads.

Continue to innovate
Many companies fail when the economy starts to get better because they have stopped investing in innovation and are left with outdated products and systems. Be ready for the better tomorrow, it will arrive.

Lead your team
The challenge for you, as the leader, is to resist being overcome with fear and to present a vision and plan toward future growth and prosperity for the business. The good news is that your competitors are going through the same conditions you are. Stay focused on the fundamentals of good business while your competitors panic and you can not only survive the downturn, you can come out the other side with a more prosperous business than you had before.

(From 'Secrets to surviving a downturn in New Zealand' - August 2008 - By Martin Richardson)
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