Business Growth in a Down Turn

chartBack in January, Jennifer had some great tips on growing and thriving in 2009.  I want to revisit one of the main points she raised and a message I’m continually delivering to my small and medium business clients:  You CAN create new opportunities, outperform your competitors and grow your business in this economic climate.  You need to hunt now or risk being eaten!

One of my golden rules in a down turn is market, market, market!  I’m not talking about mass media brand building type marketing here; I’m talking low cost lead generation type marketing.  (Jennifer has a great list in her post.)  Again, the key here is to take action, and not think too much and stress, so make sure you draw up a marketing plan and commit to it.  Keep it simple – a spreadsheet detailing the activities you are going to perform each week for a month in advance is a great start.

Think hard about the key marketing messages you deliver and how you can rework them to suit the current buying climate.  To help you do this, ask some of your key clients what is important to them right now.  Common answers from my clients at the moment include “cut costs”, “increase efficiency”, “lower our head count” and “do more with our existing clients”.  So put some thought in to how your product/service can deliver these benefits and rework your marketing messages to reflect that.  Here’s an example from my business:  We offer a managed online data backup service for SMBs and generally it’s marketed heavily around data security benefits, but now we’ve changed the key message to reflect the fact it can cut costs (no ongoing consumables expenses such as backup tapes) and increase efficiency (it’s fully automated, no need for staff interaction to change tapes every day or check the backup log).

Finally, if you sell in to particular vertical markets that aren’t buying, don’t just try and ride out the storm – look for another vertical that is buying.  Even in a down turn there are vertical markets that experience growth, so try and get a piece of them.  For example, a recent report in Australia by Sensis indicated that health-care, government and community services were still high confidence sectors.  So follow your basic marketing plan, utilise low-cost lead generating marketing and deliver your reworked marketing messages in growing verticals to develop new opportunities for your business!

What vertical markets in your state or country are in growth mode?

Clayton Moulynox – Evolve IT Australia
We fix business problems, not computer problems –  Develop, Solve, Evolve.

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