The key to surviving-and thriving-in a tough economy
The economy has its ups and downs, its booms and busts. Have you ever noticed how some businesses (and some individuals for that matter) seem to be successful, no matter what the political, social or economic climate is?
The answer is not a willingness to cheat, steal or use some other unethical method to crush their competition underfoot. Rather, it is the ability to be flexible. There are many factors that are commonly attributed to successful individuals: intelligence, cleverness, competitiveness, social skills, etc. But all of these factors feed into the common denominator of all successful people; namely, the ability to be flexible.
Companies that can spot changes in their environment, including supply costs, availability of product, changes in customer attitude, marketing trends, etc. are in a much better position to act and improve their situation. But an even more important factor is the ability to be flexible enough to change when the opportunity or need arises. For example, I still encounter business owners who know the possible effects- both positive and negative- social media can have on their business. Yet, many of them refuse to adapt to these changes by trying to utilize these tools to expand their business.
These days in America, the buzz word on the street is how bad the economy is. Interestingly, there are generally two reactions to the economy: 1) dig your heals in and try to weather the storm, or 2) get creative and try to find new ways to generate business. The latter approach will unquestioningly be more successful on the long run.
This doesn’t necessarily mean spending more money. As an example, my company’s core business lies in business forms and stationery printing. However, with the economic downturn, companies have reduced their expenditures on printing; preferring to utilize email and other means to cut costs. In response, we’ve looked for other opportunities, and as a result, we’ve picked up a lot of business in embroidered apparel and promotional products.
As a salesman, I was getting nowhere earlier this year while hitting the street trying to sell office products. When I changed my tactics, and led with marketing and promotional product ideas, I started getting several requests for quotes. After trying over and over to get through the “gatekeeper” in several accounts, my owner suggested talking to the receiving manager about custom labels and boxes. We’ve also increased our social media efforts to increase our visibility.
All of these slight changes didn’t cost us any extra money than we would normally spend.
Instead of complaining about changing conditions, or fearing for your company or job, try to find new and more creative ways to get the job done. At the very least, you’ll feel more in control of the situation; and maybe, just maybe you’ll turn a negative into a BIG positive.