Do You Hear That Banging?





Opportunity is Knocking!It’s opportunity and if you’re a small business owner it’s at your door.

Folks, this is really the time for small business to seize the day and shine! While all of the big, major companies are chasing their tails and trying to figure out what to do, business is still going on.

Let’s take a look at the landscape.

Bailouts, downsizing, rightsizing, big overhead, bankruptcies, credit freezes, doors closing – why, the corporate world is just a mess! And during it all there is still a need for what most of them were selling.

So, what are you doing about it? I hope you are capitalizing on the situation. Follow these steps and you’ll capture that business.

1. Define the value of your product or service — from the client’s point of view
2. Establish the reasons people buy from YOU
3. Develop your marketing strategies around those two things
4. Market to those people and companies who NEED what you offer
5. Market to those people and companies who KNOW your target

Once you’re in, nurture those relationships to cement your place with those clients. Visit with current clients to make sure you’ve penetrated them as far as possible. Many times we get an order and move on to the next prospect. Now is the time to go back, cultivate those relationships and ensure you are doing everything you can for them.

In addition, develop referral networks. When things get tighter, you are afforded more time to act. So, get out and create relationships with other people and companies – the ones you didn’t have time for when you were busy.

Always, always be a giver. Think about this for a moment — if you are experiencing any anxiety or concern about the current market conditions, so are your clients and contacts. What better way to build your relationships with them than by talking with them. Find out what’s concerning to them. What do they need? Connect them to the people and companies that can meet those needs. You know the old saying — ‘What goes around comes around.’ Give and you will get.

One of the advantages you have as a small business owner/salesperson is flexibility. Traditionally, the small business has lower overhead and therefore, a greater ability to match the prospect’s needs. It may mean realizing a smaller margin but the payoff can be huge. You’ll most likely keep and grow the business with those clients.

So, while the big players are chasing their tails, you’ll be developing lasting relationships and growing your business. You’ll find these clients very loyal. Why? Because you were there for them in their time of true need; you were willing to work with them in a partnership format; you were giving.

Really, at the core of it all — because you were there.

* * * * *

Diane HelbigAbout the Author: Diane Helbig is a Professional Coach and the president of Seize This Day Coaching. Diane is a Contributing Editor on COSE Mindspring, a resource website for small business owners, as well as a member of the Sales Experts Panel at Top Sales Experts.

12 Comments ▼

Diane Helbig


Diane Helbig Diane Helbig is a Professional Coach and the president of Seize This Day. Diane is a Contributing Editor on COSE Mindspring, a resource website for small business owners, as well as a member of the Top Sales World Experts Panel at Top Sales World.

12 Reactions

  1. I just wrote about this very thing as a guest-post at the esteemed OnStartups blog:

    http://blog.asmartbear.com/blog/start-a-business-now-6-reasons-why-this-economy-is-good-for.html

    “Now” is always the right time to start, but this economic climate means it’s even more perfect.

  2. “In addition, develop referral networks. When things get tighter, you are afforded more time to act. So, get out and create relationships with other people and companies – the ones you didn’t have time for when you were busy.”

    Great advice. Slow times are excellent opportunities to beef up your networking! We need human to human contact now more than ever.

  3. Martin Lindeskog

    Diane Helbig,

    It is time to promote the idea that it is a voluntarily exchange of values between two parties, i.e., the trader principle.

    The expression, ‘What goes around comes around.’ will give an echo for a long time… with things going on at the moment with bailouts, hand outs, special favors for pressure groups, etc.

  4. Hi Jason,

    Why do you think this time is even more perfect?

  5. I agree that now is a good time to start. There is a lot of good work force out there that needs to be hired. People are looking for something different and investors need to put their money somewhere.

  6. I really think that at this time, it’s about trust. By nurturing clients and customers you are building trust. And in times of uncertainty, people really need to trust in someone or something before moving forward.

    And I really think that taking it a step further and offering something additional is key right now, too. (i.e. discounts, special promos, freebies) Like Diane says “give and you will get.”

  7. You’re right. If your business offers a service or product that consumers always need, this is a good time to take that leap.

    Jason, great article. I enjoyed reading the comments that your post stirred up. Obviously, this is a subject of contention.

  8. @Luz

    The subject of that guest-post details why now is a good time. Briefly: low opportunity-cost, low expenses, competitors in trouble.

    @Amanda

    Thanks! Yes the comments on the article are worth reading too; some great points made by others, especially when trying to apply my ideas to non-software businesses.

    It’s time more than ever to focus on your perfect customers and make them happy. They’re always ready to buy.

  9. It’s so true.. Offer something your customers need

  10. I enjoyed this article, although I am cautious of one part of being flexible with the customer. I would stand firm on payment terms, not extending them more credit than they already have.

    We have seen several business that have seen their cash flow decrease dramatically becasue they did not understand the impact extending payment terms would have. SOme customers were stretched to 60 instead of 30 days, and others were allowed to be past due by more than 90 days and still order new products.

    Just a word of caution – hold your ground on payment terms.

  11. @Ken

    I understand you point, and that’s true for many businesses, but for those where marginal costs are low (i.e. software) it still might be better to take longer payment terms and get paid eventually.

    I also think it depends on the customer. Large companies with real accounts payable departments have no excuse for late payments, and sticking them with late payment fees is a way to get them off the dime (although remember your late payment rules MUST be on the original invoice!).

    Another idea is to offer early payment discounts. That is, intentionally inflate the cost by (e.g.) 5%, but offer a 5% early-payment discount if paid NET 30.

    This way the DEFAULT CASE is to get an extra 5% if they pay late, thus offsetting (somewhat?) the financing penalty they incur on you.

  12. I have customers to whom we extend early payment discounts (ie: 2%/10, net 30). Some of them will then pay within 10-12 days and take the discount, yet they have other invoices still outstanding, some of them even beyond the 30 days net due date. It seems like they shouldn’t be taking discounts until all invoices that are beyond the 10 day discount period are paid in full. Am I nuts? What is customary now?

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