There isn’t a time in human history where we haven’t been okay. We’ve always stepped up, pulled together and handled things. It’s in our nature to do it and we’ll do it again. Trust me.
When it comes to business though, there is a method to the madness.
The trouble is, it requires you, as the business owner to do things that are counter-intuitive, a little backward and sometimes a little uncomfortable.
Here are 5 things you need to do in order to not only survive a downturn but absolutely smash it.
It’s rarely possible to do 8 things brilliantly. The first order of business is to trim the fat, get back to what brought you to the party and create laser focus. It’s not the time for experimenting and dilly-dallying around.
If you’re in the web and marketing space, that might mean doing an 80/20 analysis and working out where your profit comes from. You might offer photography, videos and consulting but if your true skill is in web design then stick to that. Having those other services kicking around is extra brain-space and you need to focus on having the best web design service imaginable.
You might be thinking “well, no-one’s buying websites”. Believe me, they are. Every old-school restaurant in the world needs a website right now, to be found for [food type] [location] in Google and have their menu and a link to place a takeaway order. Get that service right and you’ll absolutely crush it.
Yes, you might need to be creative with the way you deliver it and how you charge but that demand is absolutely there. It’s a land grab. Go grab it.
Now is the time to sit down (virtually of course) with every single one of your clients and just listen. What are they going through? Some of their situations might surprise you. If you read the news and listen to the mainstream media you’ll naturally believe that no business has any money anymore.
This isn’t even slightly true. The best business owners are looking right now to land grab and take advantage of the situation. Can you help your clients do that? Get on a call with them, thrash it out and see if you can do something. Become more of a partner with them.
Now is not the time to think no-one’s buying and not bother selling. Even if no-one is buying, it’s definitely the time to get deals lined up. You should be sending more proposals than ever before. Get conversations happening.
My good friend Tim Coe has always made this point, and this is a guy that’s stayed in business through 4 different recessions. He’s always said that business activity is directly in proportion to the number of good conversations you can have. This is especially true when times are tough.
If your clients can’t pay for your services but you are pretty convinced they’ll make it out the other side, maybe double down with them and see if you can get some equity in the business. This is something I did with a business called Lets Talk Property. They were struggling and I was the tech and marketing help they needed.
Trouble is they couldn’t pay me my full fee so I accepted a significantly reduced fee and 25% equity in the business. It later sold for an okay amount and I was cut in and made about 5x what my original fee would have been.
The true secret of thriving in any times when business is uncertain is this – you do the counter-intuitive thing not because it makes sense because it often doesn’t, but no-one else is doing it so you’re the only one.
Imagine how cheap “web design [city]” is now on Google Adwords vs just a few months ago. It’s the same demand, the same, or better level of client, sometimes 50% cheaper marketing cost and you’re one of the only ones bidding on it. Think.
This is your time to clean up and grow and expand. Use what resources you have at your disposal and go nuts!
If you are at the point where you were thinking of hiring a few months ago, well, think how much cheaper those hires just got? The beautiful thing about salary negotiations are you do them once at the beginning and they mostly stay the same. Now is the time to hire in help so you can get out there and continue selling.
I know it’s scary, we run a ridiculously successful software company and it still feels weird to hire that new designer or give annual bonuses even though financially it’s a drop in the ocean. But you have to park that kneejerk emotion and see the situation for what it really is.
It’s time to invest, grow, increase, expand, and do more.
Do the right thing. We’re here for you.