If The Economy Is Slowing, Is Your Business Growing? 12 Tactics To Ensure Your Business Does Well During A Slow Economy

By Andrew J. Birol, President, Birol Growth Consulting, Inc.

By now, there’s no question the U.S. economy is mired in an economic slowdown. While your specific industry may actually be strong, slowdowns are epidemic in nature and have a way of leaking into otherwise solid sectors.

The simple fact is that expectations drive consumer behavior. A mindset of limitations is replacing an attitude of abundance. As a result, people are hedging their own bets and risking less.

All of this has put business owners in a precarious situation that they haven’t witnessed during the roaring ’90s. But that doesn’t mean your business has to stop growing just because the masses are taking a wait-and-see attitude.

Here are 12 tactics to help ensure your business doesn’t follow the downward trends.

Warranty and maintenance contracts that extend the useful life of the status quo.

Programs/products and services that promise reduced costs and greater efficiency will be more attractive than those promising increased sales.

Channel power will go to those with paying customers or the ability to retain their margins.

Loyalties and relationships of convenience/laziness will be broken. In times of stress, relationships either deepen or disappear. Pick and choose your partners on both the supplier and the customer side. You can’t be all things to all people.

The transition from having not enough people to having too many people may be sudden. "Bargain-price" human resources can help increase customer service or search for new customers.

The challenge of focusing on the PACER circles (best and highest use, target market and customer pain) becomes all the more imperative. As demand slows down, every purchasing decision will be questioned. The practice of finding the best suppliers may be replaced by finding the one lowest cost supplier.

As people become more risk-averse to selling on the basis of fear, uncertainty and doubt will be effective.

Capital goods will be harder to get approved by customer finance departments. If so, they will be prioritized in the following order:

  1. Those that improve profits
  2. Those that increase sales
  3. Those that decrease production costs
  4. Those that decrease administrative costs
Technology factors. When tech capability greater than the market’s capability to absorb it, then price falls when everyone beyond the early adopters stop buying it. The minute the technology isn’t used, the value drops. Technology starts being given away and revenue streams devalued. Inevitably, the technology is adopted and price goes up, or more likely the next great thing replaces it as the cycle repeats itself.

Outsourcing may or may not decrease but the need doesn’t.

Leverage goodwill if you already created it with your customers.

Rethink the time versus money tradeoff. People may have more time to spend on tasks they formerly might have paid others to perform.

While there is no surefire way to avoid a slowdown, if you’re proactive in your approach odds are you’ll be better off then your not-so-prepared competitors.

Articles by Birol Growth Consulting are © copyrighted and all rights are reserved. However, articles may be reprinted with prior written consent if attribution is included as follows:

© Copyrighted by Andrew J. Birol, President of Birol Growth Consulting, who helps owners grow their businesses by growing their Best and Highest Use ®. Andy can be reached at (412) 973-2080 , by email at abirol@andybirol.com, or on the web at www.andybirol.com.

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