5 Ways to Grow During Down Times

5 Ways to Grow During Down Times

What business owner does not want to try and grow their business? Some might say it can not be done right now due to the recession we are still in. Roger W. Reak of StratAlli would disagree though. Reak spoke at the GiANT Impact Metro Atlanta Council for Entrepreneurship (MACE) this morning about “5 ways to grow during down times.”

If you missed it, don’t worry because you can still catch the cliff notes version…

1) Commit to Change
Change is not as scary and intimidating as people think. A common reaction with the topic of change is to simply shrug it off and say “why change? We have always done it this way.” Or some say “I can’t try to change anything now, I’m trying to hold onto the clients and services that I have now in this bad economy.”

The truth is a bad economy actually can help to present new lines, customers and employees, geographical expansion, inventory purchases, potential company acquisition and streamlining the organization. Just to name a few.

First, YOU have to change your attitude and get enthusiastic by becoming the company’s biggest cheerleader. Second, commit to innovation, improvement and growth. John Wooden, a former coach at UCLA once said, “Don’t confuse activity with progress.”

2) Plan and Get Help
Reak recommends companies have a strategic outlook over a tactical one. He suggested that companies create a one page living strategic and business plan. This will provide focus and force companies to set extremely specific goals. Make sure to get help from everybody around you and then be sure to educate all the employees on the details of the priorities set before them.

Find out how your business is different than your competition. Reak says “be different in a way that matters to your customers.” He also believes that a business expert and/or consultant can provide an outsider’s view that can help provide valuable guidance.

Reak believes that a major problem with small businesses is they think like small businesses. Instead, develop an advisory board. This can help to spread the pressure of the company around while gaining important insights and other perspectives.

3) Get Your Finances In Order
A must do is establish your financial stability ad funding for growth. First, you must honestly asses your current status. Then, question every expenditure and decide if it is a worthy cost. Next, maintain a cash flow plan with and without additional financing and stick to it.

4) Improve Your Organization
The big word to remember under this tip is SIMPLIFY. Most businesses are overly complicated because they believe that is the best way to do business, it’s not. Start simplifying your organization by having fewer layers, streamline all your systems and focus on your primary business function and outsource non-core functions, such as human resources and legal.

Train every employee on the business plan and strategies, products and services, procedures, responsibilities, importance of innovation, etc. Make sure to establish accountability with all employees by providing incentives, raises and promotions based on specific performance of personal business plan goals. Also, start empowering your employees by shifting some responsibility for elements of the company plan onto them.

5) Market and Sell
This is probably one of the biggest ways to help grown in a down economy. First, develop a marketing plan aimed at your target client. Then make sure you have a consistent message on all marketing materials (social media, Web site, brochures, etc.).

Take advantage of the free social media available today. Creating a Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter an blog accounts is a great way to spread your message to an enormous amount of people without costing money.

Selling, obviously, is the way to grow a business during any time of the economy. So, train all employees to be able to sell your products/services. Always have something to leave behind to a potential client. Make sure that all employees are enthusiastic.

So, do you think you have all of the tools to be even more successful and really grow your company despite the economy?

Published in: on December 14, 2009 at 2:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

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