LEAP! 101 Ways to Grow Your Business on the Synergy Energy Show with Pam Perry

October 21, 2009

10 Ways to Reject the Recession and Build a Thriving Business
By Stephanie Chandler

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In a time when the lead news stories focus on business downsizing, the rising costs of gas and groceries and general economic turmoil, it is hard to avoid feeling the “recession depression.” But as business owners we have two choices: we can let the media send us into panic mode or we can view the economic downturn as an opportunity.

This is a time in the economy when millionaires are made. While some businesses are giving up and closing their doors, their competitors are seizing opportunities. Which side would you rather be on? Now is the time for you to rise above it—to stay a step ahead of your competition and Reject the Recession!

Here are ten ways to thrive in tough times:

1. Keep the Marketing Wheels in Motion
Though your first instinct may be to cut costs, this is the worst time to cut back on marketing. Studies show that businesses that continue marketing through a slow economy are the ones that come out ahead when the economy begins to turn. Make sure you have a marketing plan and stick to it. If your current marketing efforts aren’t producing results, try new strategies. When done correctly, marketing is an expense that should pay for itself. Find the strategies that work and then keep doing them.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Discount

The reality is that consumers are holding on tighter to their wallets. The key to unlock their dollars is in discounts. Take a cue from the big department stores—they are holding incredible sales and offering more coupons than ever. Reevaluate your pricing strategy and offer discounts off your most popular products and services. This may also be a good time to lower your prices across the board and then advertise your “New Lower Prices!” You can always raise them again later.

3. Leverage the Internet

Are you selling products and services from your website? Can you expand your sales channels by selling on eBay or another online venue? Are you reaching your customers with e-mail marketing? Is your website optimized for the search engines? It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to implement an online marketing and sales strategy. Even if you simply add gift certificate purchases to your website, you could uncover a whole new revenue stream. Seek out an online marketing expert and evaluate the opportunities.

4. Form a Mastermind Group

Get together with your staff or assemble a small group of people who understand your business and brainstorm opportunities. When several people get together with a blank slate and some good energy, magic can happen. Ask for ideas—you might be surprised by the results.

5. Tap into a New Niche
Is there a niche that you have been meaning to focus on? Can you uncover a new market that makes sense for your business? For example, a florist that specializes in weddings could pursue the corporate market, a residential real estate agent could go after the investor community or a virtual assistant could decide to specialize in serving the unique needs of financial planners. Pick a new market and then develop a plan of attack.

6. Reach Out to Your Customer Base

One of the most overlooked business opportunities comes from your existing and past clients. The fact that they have already done business with you makes it far more likely that they will do business with you in the future. Make sure you are marketing to them, reaching out and reminding them that you are there. Ask them for referrals and offer a powerful incentive such as a cash reward or gift card for referrals. Never let a referral go unnoticed!

7. Make Improvements
This is an ideal time to evaluate all of your policies and procedures. Do they make sense in this economy? Is your customer service team delivering up to your standards? Could your sales team benefit from some additional training? How can you help your company perform even better? What are steps you can take to improve customer loyalty? Look at your business through a magnifying class and seize the opportunity to improve it across the board.

8. Survey Your Customers
Much can be uncovered by reaching out to your customers and asking them for feedback. Develop a short list of questions that include ratings on your products, services and staff. Ask specific questions such as, “How can we improve your experience with us?” Tools such as http://www.SurveyMonkey.com can help you accomplish this easily. Once you receive the survey results, evaluate them and take action to make improvements. You will undoubtedly find themes in the answers such as, “It takes too long to get a call back.” Let your customers know that you heard them and share what improvements you are making as a result of their survey responses.

9. Keep an Eye on Capital
What goes down must come up and the economy will rebound, though it may be awhile. If business is slower than usual, form a plan for getting through this period. You might need to open a line of credit, visit your bank and apply for a loan, seek private funding or even bring in a partner. Running out of capital can quickly kill a business. Make sure you assess how much you may need before you need it and have a plan for forging ahead.

10. Get Help and Keep Your Eye on the Prize

Now is a great time to sharpen your own skills. Take classes, read books and network with others in your industry so you can learn from them. Get involved in your trade association and make sure you are on top of your game. Look for joint venture opportunities. Make yourself more efficient by outsourcing services that consume your valuable time. For example, if you are doing the bookkeeping for your business, hand that off to someone else so you can have more time to focus on what you do best. Also, determine your priorities. Where should you be spending your time? What can you do to make your company bigger, better and stronger? Leave the worrying to your competitors and instead seek out opportunities and stay positive. When you put the right energy and focus into your business—despite the economy—the results can extraordinary.

About the Author:
Stephanie Chandler is an author of several business and marketing books including “LEAP! 101 Ways to Grow Your Business” and “From Entrepreneur to Infopreneur.” She is also founder and CEO of http://AuthorityPublishing.com, which provides custom book publishing and author marketing services for business, self-help and other non-fiction books, and http://BusinessInfoGuide.com, a directory of resources for entrepreneurs. For author and speaker information, visit http://StephanieChandler.com.

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Six Simple Steps to Success in ANYTHING!

October 6, 2007

I want to share with you six steps you can take that will help you experience all that the Lord has planned for your life.

Step 1: Slow Down. To really enjoy life you have to slow down and appreciate the journey! One of Satan’s tricks is to get us focused on the future that we can’t enjoy the present. God’s desire is that you enjoy the entire journey! The psalmist said: ” This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). Rejoice today- not tomorrow!

Step 2: Be Yourself. The Bible says in Romans 12:6. ” We have different gifts, according to the grace given to us. ” God has a unique, specific plan for your life. To experience the joy He has set before you, run your race. Only you and God really know the person He has made you to be, and what He wants you to do. In Jeremiah 29:11 God states: ” I know the plans I have for you…. plans to prosper you…plans to give you hope and a future (an expected end).”

Step 3: Lighten Up. We need to learn to laugh! Laughter is a wonderful gift from God that helps us to more fully enjoy life. Proverb 17:22 says: ” A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” There is healing power in a cheerful attitude!

Step 4: Be Positive. Isaiah 61:3 encourage us to put on ” a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Sometimes you just have a choice to make… you have to put on the garment of praise. Be positive in those negative situations you face, in the tough times of life, as well as when everything is going great. Don’t let your joy be dependent on your circumstances.

Step 5: Refuse to worry. Worry is a destructive force that can easily keep us from fulfilling our God- given destiny. It’s important that we learn to resist the temptation to worry. Isaiah 26:3 say that God “will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because He trust in you.” We need to fix our mind on God, and replace worry with faith. Worship beats worry every time!

Step 6: Live to Give. Most people think they will be happy when they get everything they want. But actually, the opposite is true! The more we live for self, the more miserable we become. Jesus said to His followers, ” let him forget, ignore, disown and lose sight of himself and his own interest.” (Mark8: 34). When you are ready to experience real joy, give your life away. Live to give. Jesus did! (Jesus was a networker.)

Pam Perry www.MinistryMarketingSolutions.com