Beware of the market-talk that leads to aggressive, business breaking fear. It’s the kind of thing that can slip up on you. And before you know it, you’ve slid into a series of fear-based decisions.
To make the most of any economy we have to always take care of the basics first, and for me that begins with controlling my mind. Sometimes fear thoughts just slip in but you don’t have to let them run you, and in turn, your business. Besides, uncontrolled fear can cost you a lot of time, time that could go into the kind of strategy work that digs a savvy business owner out of trouble. And if you can control the fear, then you find creative and effective ways to take care of your customers, your employees and your marketing.
Take Care of Your Customers
In, “9 Business Fundamentals To Always Remember” John Mariotti says:
“Always consider what is most important to your customers….Without customers, you have no business, so take care of them. But don’t be afraid to make a profit.”
Quality service and quality products can afford profitable pricing even in a down economy. But fear-based decisions can cause you make rash choices instead of strategic ones. For example, maybe a single item doesn’t make the kind of money it did before but a if you bundle it how does your market respond? If you keep your strategy cap on you just may find something that feels like more value to your people and keeps you in the black.
Now, if taking care of your customers is fundamental, then taking care of your team becomes key as well.
Take Care of Your Employees
Your employees are your front line of defense and care. Your customers’ relationship with your company is often built through their interaction with one employee or another.
In, “Are You Rewarding Your Employees Fairly?” Anita Campbell, Founder of Small Business Trends, says:
“What matters isn’t whether you believe they are being rewarded fairly, but whether they think they are….workers who don’t feel they are fairly rewarded are likely to become resentful and seek to leave your business at the first opportunity.”
Or simply perform poorly (and that costs you money).
Anita references a study by WorldatWork, Hay Group and Loyola University Chicago professor Dow Scott. And according to that study one of the strategies that can help increase employees’ perceptions that they’re being fairly rewarded is good communication—you can implement that now. And the top factor in whether employees feel they are fairly rewarded is career development opportunities—this is a cost effective reward that small businesses can offer with some planning. Check out her article and the study for more factors.
Take Care of Your Marketing
In, “How To Pick An Ad Agency” Ivana Taylor gives her 7 step process for choosing an ad agency including step #5 where she suggests that you say “no” to the presentation and go to lunch instead. The goal is to find someone or organization that can successfully complete your marketing job over and over again. You want a long term and profitable relationship with your ad agency, because let’s face it none of us have time or money to waste.
Just remember, a challenging economy is not a time to shrink. Smart marketing is always essential.
Back to Basics Photo via Shutterstock