There is no doubt that belts are being tightened not only in North Queensland but also throughout Australia. Interest rates have been steadily rising, petrol prices are at record levels and as result many day to day to goods are getting more expensive. In general there is less money flowing through the community.
Now, in times like this, business owners tend to feel the crunch. Clearly this depends on what business you are in, but when times get tough, it ultimately has to have an impact on all businesses.
What is important here is how you manage these tough times. Some business owners go into panic, some freeze in the spotlight and do nothing and some get proactive. Clearly the last option is the best, so how can you be proactive in your business at times like this?
Personally I think this is a great opportunity to refocus on your business. Many of us have been so ridiculously busy for the last four or five years, that there are huge piles of things that we have been putting off that we cannot get done. It’s a time to take a breath, to review what you are doing and to tidy up loose ends, finish the incompletes that are driving you crazy and think about where your business is heading.
In many cases we have forgotten what it feels like not to be franticly business. I certainly have and I have to say it feels wonderful to have a more manageable workload, to have time for myself and to have time to think rather than rushing to do.
We can get into a good headspace, which invites creativity and allows us to review our marketing. Unfortunately, when the economic belt tightens, most businesses cut back on marketing, whereas in reality, it is the time to spend more, but of course it all depends how much money we have available under the bed.
I see great marketing opportunities for any business that takes a proactive approach to marketing when the economic belt tightens a few notches. Here a few reasons why:
1. As fewer businesses are advertising your advertising will stand out more.
2. Advertising rates tend to get cheaper which means your marketing dollar goes further.
3. You actually have the time to plan your marketing instead of reacting.
4. If your customers are other businesses or business owners, they will have more time to listen to you ideas, pitches etc.
5. Even though times are tough, the products and services that people need change – they don’t stop. So the opportunity here is change what we are offering to meet these new needs.
6. Other suppliers such as printers, graphic designers and web developers will tend to be quieter and they may become more competitive costwise.
Use quiet times to make your business stand out from the crowd. If money is tight, spend more of your time talking to your customers and building stronger relationships, look for more of the opportunities that in the past you have been too busy to take advantage of, plan the future of your business, review your products and services and generally improve your business any way possible.
And last but certainly not least, it is also an excellent time to have a good long holiday that may be seriously overdue. I look at times like this as the perfect opportunity to refocus, recharge and revitalise yourself so that when the economy picks up again (which personally I don’t think will take long) you are fired up and ready to take advantage of it.
The very worst thing you can do when times get tough is nothing.