If the recent recession proved anything, it was that many businesses simply are not prepared to acclimate to a sluggish economy. While some companies were able to adapt to the mercurial economic landscape, those that lacked flexible business plans were overcome by the economic shift. In too many cases, companies take a wait-and-see approach; letting factors like the economy dictate their success. However, with the right strategies, your business can remain afloat and even prosper in any economy.
Here are 4 smart strategies that will help grow your business, even in a slow economy.
1. Focus on improving customer relationships
While customer retention should always be a high priority, the stakes are even higher during a slow economy when new business is an uncertainty. Make sure you contact your customers on a regular basis and work diligently to continually improve existing relationships. Connect with clients on social media; see that they are placed on your email list; send them postcards; and conduct customer service calls to identify any areas of improvement.
2. Create a referral rewards program
The best compliment you can receive is a referral. Leads generated by referrals are low cost and typically close in a fraction of the time of other lead types. View your clients as a powerful extended sales force. Actively ask clients for referrals and provide incentives for doing so.
3. Don’t sacrifice marketing
When the economy dips, budgets naturally get tightened. However, marketing should be the very last place you cut spending. Visibility in the marketplace is imperative to drawing in new business. You can explore new, creative ways to market, but you must keep marketing during a downturn economy. In fact, step up marketing efforts, because as more companies fall by the wayside, your message will stand a better chance of getting heard.
4. Obtain a GSA Schedule Contract to pursue government business
The U.S. Federal Government is the largest customer in the world. Even during a down economy, the government spends billions on products and services annually. Many companies steer clear of the federal market because of the intricate procurement process. GSA Schedule Contracts, also referred to as Federal Supply Schedules, are contracts awarded by GSA that contain pre-negotiated pricing, terms, and conditions. GSA Schedule Contracts simplify the government sales process from the perspective of both the buyer and the seller; making federal sales attainable to commercial businesses, and the GSA Schedule Contract holder attractive to the federal buyer.
Don’t allow your business to succumb to economic shifts. Identify opportunities where others see challenges, and take your business to new heights.
About the Author: Heather Rattman is the Marketing Coordinator for Federal Schedules, Inc., a leading GSA consulting company that assists businesses throughout the GSA Contract process.