Customer First

Riding out an economic slowdown does not mean sitting still and waiting for the economy to improve. Nor should the current business environment be blamed entirely for dwindling sales and lower revenues. In an economic slump and a sluggish market, businesses should take a proactive stance and find ways to innovate, market their products or services, connect with customers and save costs.

Reduce spending

Cutting costs is one of the first moves businesses make to save money, especially when times get tough. Identify non-essential expenditures that can be removed or delayed such as new furniture for the office as well as travel and entertainment expenses. Other companies cut back on utilities like telephone/mobile lines or switch to energy-efficient lighting. Another way to save cost is to cut down on printing documents and using paper. Usually, companies can a save a lot in their stationery and supplies purchases. Likewise, companies can combine company events and seminars/trainings into a single affair to maximize resources.

Businesses should also watch their cash flow by making sure expenses and receivables are recorded correctly. It is important for businesses to have enough cash during these times.

Maintain customers

Belt-tightening measures, however, should not negatively impact customer satisfaction, sales and marketing, and potential revenues. Now more than ever, businesses should keep their loyal customers happy by providing for their needs. Existing customers want a company they can rely on and is flexible enough to serve their needs.

To grow revenues amid an economic crunch, explore new business opportunities with existing customers. This won’t cost the company and won’t even take a lot of time. Businesses that have established relationships with their customers have an edge. Their efforts to touch base with customers on a regular basis, either through sending flyers or newsletters, birthday greetings, or new offers, will now pay off.

Strategic marketing

Generating revenues also involves pushing the company’s products and services to target customers, so cutting back on marketing is a wrong move. This is necessary for the business to stay competitive, and when the going gets tough, it should have presence in the market so its products and services stay top of mind.

Drum up interest in the company’s offerings by improving its website or utilizing social media, which are cost-effective ways to reach the market. Another inexpensive way to keep in touch with customers is by emailing updates and promos. An economic downturn should get businesses thinking of innovative ways to connect with customers and gain new ones. Spot new trends and opportunities that won’t cost the business an arm and a leg, or negotiate for special rates or deals if the company needs to advertise.

One way to get prospects to sign up in the company website or gather email addresses from visitors is by giving them a reason to register in the site. Offer a special discount that customers can claim by presenting a coupon emailed to them or sent to their mobile phones.

“Necessity is the mother of invention.”

Stand out

To compete for the attention of customers, a business should come up with innovative ways to stand out from the competition. Offer customers a unique shopping experience, broaden the appeal of existing products or services, or leverage on the company’s excellent customer service. Strive to be different to draw the customers and think big. Now could be the opportunity to take the business further.

In sum, a slowdown in the economy should be met with determination on the part of business owners to stay focused on what would bring in sales and revenues – the customers. By focusing on satisfying their needs and finding creative ways to address those needs while keeping costs down, the company should be able to ride out the recession.