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Survival tips in recession

Here are 16 tips for you to use to make your business survive in a recession and we hope that they will give you the effect that you need.

1.First and foremost - forget about last year
Whether you were selling good or bad - forget it. Create new goals. Pretend that you have just started your business now and you need to work to get it off the ground. If you let the recession get to you now, you will just depressed by comparing the figures with last year.

2.  Look for benefits - they always exist
There is something good even in tough times, so look for anything you can see as a possibility. What is it? Is it that you can get rid of someone who isn't doing as well as you would like? Is it that a new market is opening up? If you just look beyond that which is negative at the moment, what opportunities can you grab hold of? Is it that you get the chance to review your company's business model? Can you suddenly afford to advertise because it's cheaper? Is it possible to get hold of skilled labor cheaper now? Is there any expert help you couldn't afford to hire before that is now more accessible? Look for benefits too. Make sure to create the changes that the recession gives you an opportunity to create.

3. Realize that you have to work harder now to achieve the same results as before
That means that you may have to start thinking about making ten times more: Contact ten times more potential customers, follow up and talk to ten times more customers.

4. Find the raisins in the cake
Are there particular areas, regions or parts of your industry that you know will grow faster than other regions during the recession? Think about it. There are areas that grow during bad times. If you sell computer software, then you can target those who are about to start their own business now that they are losing their current jobs. Think about where the money will be in your industry and who has it – do things for these people.

5. Be a good defender
All of your customers are already exposed to other companies that want to take them over. Defend your place in your customers' hearts. You defend your place best by showing your customers how much they mean to you. Find good things that will help them. Show them that you are on their side and that all orders are equal. Business is all about helping each other through thick and thin. If your customers feel that way about you, your competitors can come knocking on your customers' doors without anyone opening – ever!

6. Time for another great routine
There is a lovely old rule that I have used for ten years now - every day, do five things that will bring you closer to your goal. Over this time, I have made about 18 250 things that take me closer to my goal. You can do the same thing. It takes only one week to do 25 things.

7. New fresh look at the enterprise
Take a closer look at your company and ask yourself: “If I had just bought this company, what would I do to sell more and expand”?

8. Fix the gaping holes when you can
Every company has areas they can improve on and now it's time to take care of them, to seal the leaks. This may involve inadequate procedures, for example, that you fail to follow up on all the quotes you send out. It could be that you have promised yourself to always call customers after delivery to make sure that everything is fine (but you never got around to doing it). It's time to turn everything you want the company to stand for in the eyes of other people into procedures for everyone to follow.

9. Make customer hunting your primary assignment
It's the most important thing you can do every day. By constantly looking for who can become your customers, they will also come to you in a good flow. Always ask yourself;”Who would we like to do business with if we had the chance?”
Write down everything you remember. Make it a habit for everyone in the company to always write down what they find out. Why not have a whiteboard in a room with a candy bowl next to it? Everyone who submits a good idea can take a piece of candy (or in these times maybe rather a piece of fruit). Anyone who doesn’t have anything in particular to do can read the notes and get someone or a company to contact right now. This is how things begin to happen.

10. In what way are your customers affected by the recession?
If you know, perhaps you also know a way to change what you sell to suit your customers better. Can you, for example, help financing the purchase of more expensive products? Can you start to charge a certain sum per month for a year instead of demanding full payment up front? Could it be that they would like to see a less exclusive (read expensive) version of your product over a certain period of time?

11. Learn selling thematics
I read a study that got stuck in my head a few years ago. It says that 80% of all orders come after you have called the customer at least five times, but that only 5% of all sellers call more than four times. Now that's stuck in your head, too. And I think the result is right. Just look at those who are calling me to sell things and services. They will keep on calling for a while before I wake up and understand the value of what they are offering me.

12. Educate the sellers
Your sales people may need retraining the hard way. What you need now is the very sharpest sales techniques, not just Danish pastry and snacks = business. Educate your sales people now. Let them read books about sales techniques and dust off their knowledge of the past.

13. Analyze more
What is the cheapest way to get a new customer right now? Before you spend thousands of dollars on advertising to get new customers - think about whether you can get just as much new business by calling old customers again for just a fraction of the money you thought you have to spend.

14. Keep an eye on the financial health of your closest partners
You're not the only one who notices or will notice the slowdown in business. Your customers and suppliers may also be going through hard times. If you have a few customers that account for the bulk of your income, you must find out how they're holding up. Same thing with your vendors. You don't want to get a phone call from any of them one day where they say they have gone bust.

15. Make a survival budget and feel better right away
In a recession, it's easy to only hunt on after each order and never really feel satisfied. If you know what you need to earn, you have a figure to measure your efforts against and in any case - take a deep breath and smile a little bit when you reach that figure before hurrying on to bringing in more money.

16. Get ready to grow
During recessions, people buy less and therefore companies are generally more open to launch special offers. If you think long-term - what would you buy today when it comes to equipment and materials that you will never get on the same good terms again?

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

230 000 prescribes to his free newsletter "The 5 minute marketer"
Every week some 230,000 prescribers gets his free newsletter about 5 minute marketing.

"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.