A Year in Review

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on December 30, 2009 in: Business - Plain & Simple

chltVF9k96572158_800x600For many businesses, this was a year to forget. Many businesses survived the year but not without the scars to prove that they fought hard to stay in business. Even those who did reasonably well saw customers pull back a bit or reorganize their spending priorities “just until this dark cloud blows over”.

Fair enough. Almost all of us had those calls from clients. Well, guess what. The economy has pretty much sorted itself out. It’s not perfect. It’s not completely healed. It will still ache when it rains. But it’s getting better. Economists tell us that we may still see a blip or two on our radar but we can see some hope in the near distance, too.

So… what now? If you survived, congratulations. There’s an adage about recessions that I really like. It’s a little harsh but it’s true: Recessions are a way of cleaning out weak businesses to make strong businesses stronger. It’s a survival of the fittest situation on a corporate level.

If you’re still in business, that’s great!
Your business may feel like it’s reeling from the staggering blow of a boxer with a mean right hook… but it’s still standing. You’re still in control. Go out there and win more business. Fight back by making more calls, connecting with more clients through social media engagement, revisiting your business’ strategy and deliverables. In a sort of “Fight Club” of economics, the recession has stripped away everything else, leaving your pure business. If you’re still standing, you’ve got some opportunities to start taking advantage of this right away.

To put a positive spin on the situation, your business might have been beaten up but it also worked over your competitors and sent not a few of them to the economic morgue. Even though customers might still be shy about spending, there are more of them out there who were once served by your competitors. If you win them now and serve what little buying needs they have, when the economy turns around and booms again (and it will!) you’ll have a bigger customer base to succeed with.

So, what does that mean for you right now? Shore up your processes. Make sure your customer service is focused and systematic. Perfect your deliverables and create new ones to serve the needs of the new customers you’ll be getting. Revisit which of your competitors bit the dust and make sure that you have the offerings that serve all of their customers.

And, If you’re no longer in business, that’s not so bad (believe it or not).
Okay, so I don’t want to get so congratulatory to the businesses who are still standing and leave some of my no-longer-in-business readers in the dust. If your business didn’t make it through the recession, I have two things to say: First, I’m sorry. I understand the challenge and heartache that you’re facing now. Second, it may not feel like it right now, but you have a unique opportunity to start over. Yes, start over with a new business. Don’t think of it as an uphill battle but as an opportunity to start doing things at the very beginning of your new business that you wished you had done at the beginning of your last business!

Good luck!

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