As the economy turns downward again, what lessons have we learned as small business owners from the 2008 “Great Recession”? Fortunately most of us have not forgotten our successes and mistakes over the brief years since 2008. There are three lessons that I think are best practices for any business as they navigate through this uncertainty. They all relate to making decisions rooted in confidence, not rooted in fear.
- Still be Choosy with Your Clients. Don’t panic and act desperate! As a B2B company, you want to be selective with clients. You don’t want clients who will give you more heartache and stress than money. One thing I learned in 2008 is to stick to your ideal customer profile – don’t sign clients who don’t fit your ideal customer profile. Sometimes we panic and begin to approach and sign clients because of the money. Don’t do it! There were many times in 2008 when I would sign a questionable client just because I was scared about the lost revenue. Stay true to the ideal customer profile and trust your gut.
- Do Not Lower Price Arbitrarily. Prospective clients will push you on price and want you to offer more services for less money. If your pricing structure is sound, stay true to your pricing! Don’t lower your price without decreasing project scope. You will almost always regret reducing your price just to win the business.
- Do Not Cut Marketing Investment. When times get tough, the first thing many businesses do is cut marketing allocations. It could be the worst time to cut marketing! As you navigate through the economic storm, maintaining an effective lead generation program is critical. Even though marketing costs money, if implemented properly, it will still deliver your business plenty of ideal clients.
To sum it all up, it comes down to DISCIPLINE. The more disciplined your business leadership is, the more successful your business will be in the long run. A good practice is to post both your mission and vision statement on an office wall to ensure you practice discipline. With any strategic decision, you should always look to those statements and ask, “Does this fit my business?” Fear can cause you to become distracted and make decisions that do really do not fit the mission/vision of your company. Stay the course and always base your decisions on confident thinking. Confident thinking will give you the discipline to stay on the straight line and be successful through this current economic uncertainty.