When the Going Gets Tough
It’s possible we’ve yet to see the true depth of the current economic downturn or, as some would say, “the recession.”

So, what are you doing to “recession-proof” your firm – and yourself?

Here are a few suggestions you may want to consider:

1. Diversify. Whatever it is – don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you are investing, use more than one company. If you’ve been using one supplier, add several companies to your list.

2. Pinpoint your current market demographic – and then work to expand to include other categories. At the same time, begin compiling referral lists as resources for your clients’ unique needs…from caterers to maintenance services.

3. Know the “values” of each market segment you’re serving. You may have a large group of environmentalists in your community, so make sure you do a good job of learning what they value most – then offer it. If you have a large retirement population, know what resonates with this group and make sure you provide these services.

4. Realize there is a large segment of your market that, truly, is undecided. This is an open door for you to provide informational sessions about the options available through your organization.

5. Make an effort to become known as the true “specialist” in associated areas relating to your products and services.

6. Make every effort to reassure your community your firm will be there, no matter what, to serve their needs. Now is not the time to keep a low profile. Find ways to make the name of your firm visible without breaking your marketing bank. Advertising cut-backs may be necessary but make an effort to be “out there” as often as possible.

7. Emphasize those aspects of your firm that indicate your values:. three generations of service, serving (name of town) for a quarter century. Use your motto - and make these messages part of your advertising, signage and every communication.

8. Treat each relationship like gold – from every client to every vendor and from every community non-profit organization in which you’re a volunteer or regular sponsor to every professional organization related to your business.

9. Emphasize your commitment. to your community, your church, your civic participation and your volunteer activities.

10. Don’t forget to forward any of your community involvement information to professional publications, the local media and any other available communication (your website, blog or professional website). Remember: If you don’t toot your own horn, someone may mistake you for a spittoon!” (Webster’s defines “spittoon” as a receptacle made for spitting into, especially by users of chewing tobacco. It is also known as a cuspidor (which is the Portuguese word for "spitter" or "spittoon", from the verb "cuspir" meaning "to spit").