Bobpritchard the business leaders advisor
This is me looking a little worse for travel wear at Barnes and Noble in Washington DC, where I also had the opportunity to visit with my son, Hunter, who is studying International Business at George Washington University
Consulting work continues to be strong as businesses both large and small battle to survive in the global market downturn. It may seem difficult to believe but this is the ideal time for companies to maximize their opportunities. If you are not maximizing your opportunities then the Pritchard team can help you. Just drop me an email.
In this month’s newsletter article below, How Every Business Can Profit from an Economic Downturn, I point out the 15 Keys that will enable any business to profit from this downturn. Businesses will ignore this advice at their peril. I look forward to receiving your comments either on my website at email@example.com, or
Speaking presentations continue to be steady with the US and Europe continuing to provide the bulk of the work. Clients today are much more specific about the messages they want delivered and the outcomes they expect. I think I learn more out of the research and preparations for my speeches than any other avenue. It certainly keeps me buying Business Books and researching papers!
I also received a great testimonial from Alfonso Roberes– International Sponsorship Manager for Real Madrid CF, The world’s second most valuable sports team, who said this about “Kick Ass Business and Marketing Secrets”.
“This is an amazing Book with many challenging concepts and conclusions regarding new marketing tools in a globalized market. This practicable book will get you thinking and as Bob says, “No matter what your history or your current situation, you can achieve it all if you begin today.”
I have agreed to host a one hour weekly business program on Voice America Tuesdays at 5pm US Pacific Time, 8pm East Coast time, beginning the first week of October. The program goes out globally on the internet and will contain lots of business advice and interviews with the leading business people of the day.
I am also finalizing a 2 hour weekly business program to be broadcast every Sunday out of radio broadcast booths in the major casinos on the strip. I will interview all of the major business people visiting Las Vegas that week as well as provide editorial, take calls and and provide advice to businesses.
This month’s article “How Every Business Can Profit From an Economic Downturn”
Once the economy falters and business and consumers lose confidence, companies panic, lose focus and predictably discount, slash marketing budgets, and downsize.
Countless studies have proven this is precisely the wrong things to do.
So what should you do to not only survive, but grow your business in an economic downturn? Recessions actually produce great opportunities if you employ the right strategies. It is a time when you need to become highly focussed and dynamic. Positive leadership and confidence from the top becomes critical.
The important considerations required to be successful in a downturn are:
1. Define your desired outcomes. Totally focus time, energy and funds on achieving these outcomes. Going off on tangents or taking on new unproven initiatives can be a disaster.
2. Focus intently on achieving those goals. Don’t deviate without thorough evaluation of every opportunity and option.
3. Be disciplined, create a tight corporate culture, strong positive leadership is critical, be transparent to your team, involve them in the good news and the bad news.
4. Create a clear business and marketing strategy and detailed plan. Address challenges as opportunities, anticipate competitors’ strategies. Ensure you have the best business model, the most effective channels to market, the best strategic partners. Downturns are not the time to maintain less than great relationships.
Marketing can be expensive and wasteful if not precise. Ensure you have an effective Consumer Purchasing Benefit, Risk Reversal and Added Value strategy. Customer decisions are made emotionally so clearly define your value proposition in emotional and pragmatic terms. Understand your competitors, evaluate their appeal objectively, and clearly differentiate yourself. Promote brand awareness, build brand equity, keep the message consistent, use PR, network, refine and ‘fringe’ your database, use emails, the website and social media, speak at as many events, conferences as possible.
5. Maintain tight cost controls. Eliminate unnecessary or wasteful expenditure.
6. Don’t discount, enhance the value proposition. Discounting erodes profitability and competitiveness, does not enhance loyalty or build brand equity.
7. Be prepared to change. Examine every aspect of your business, your product, your distribution, your management structure, your marketing and your team. Encourage participation from all to increase efficiencies and find new more effective ways of achieving results. Empower everyone.
8. Measure everything. There is no endeavour in a business where you cannot measure performance. Set challenging goals then go and do everything possible to attain them. It is amazing what a company can achieve when everyone has a red hot focus.
9. Maximize the performance of your people. Your people are your most important asset, more important than any other aspect of your business. Train your team, empower them, develop teamwork, incentivize, and ensure the right people are in the right job. Eliminate cancers. Remember, the only way to change people is to change people. At all times, downturns in particular, it is critical to have a totally united, focused team.
10. Customers are god. The second most important people in any business are your customers. They are the one element that can send you out of business, simply by not buying from you. Involve them, nurture them, appreciate them, and reward them. It will pay off in the bad times and be a bonanza in the good times. Focus on categorizing customers according to “lifetime value”, and working with them to reduce the customers’ costs, improve their efficiencies and growing their revenues.
11. Continue R&D and innovation. Steve Jobs released the iPod in a recession after 9/11. He said “our belief is that if we keep giving customers great products, they will continue to buy” New initiatives attract business from competitors, weakening their competitiveness.
12. Work with your partners, distributors etc. It is critical that they believe in you, support you and go the extra mile for you. Remember, they are hurting too. Become their favourite client. Make sure they don’t cut the service they provide to you.
13. Remember, it is the size of the idea, not the size of the budget that counts. Encourage ideas, no idea is stupid. Everything that is in use today sounded like a dumb idea at some point. Frederick Smith’s thesis for federal Express was failed at college for being impractical. Only ideas generate efficiencies.
14. Be decisive. Don’t be afraid to make decisions or take actions to be decisive, no matter how unpalatable they may be. You must address issues or challenges as they arise. You cannot procrastinate.
15. Know your customer precisely, not demographically, but psychographically, and hone in with a rifle shot, not a shotgun.
This may seem like a lot of things you need to do. But business is not easy in the good times when over 95% of businesses still fail within 10 years. It is a lot harder in a downturn. But I guarantee you that if you look after these key elements; you will not only survive the downturn but will be in great shape to profit when the good times return.
Bob Pritchard, BSc, CSP, AISMM. firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to speak to me about any of the subjects I have mentioned in the newsletter or enquire about engaging any of the services provided by my global team, please contact me directly on email@example.com.