Growing your business in a Tough Economy

December 26, 2009 Columns, Working Your Creative Enterprise

By Atim Annette Oton

The store, Calabar Imports

With failure occurring in the foreclosure market and a suggested- maybe real – looming recession, things are rougher today than last year. Don’t panic! Take stock, and since you are serious about your business, it is time to step up your tactics to keep your customers buying and continuing to do business with you. In my continued vigilance to grow my business during this critical stage, I turn to four core businesses strategies that will guide my business, Calabar Imports:

Increase Marketing

In turbulent times, most businesses reduce spending in the marketing. This is the time to increase it, but be more selective and creative about how you market. The key is target marketing – but here is the catch – do not go after new customers first; market to your existing ones. It is simple: it is much harder to find new ones but easier to make your existing base come back to you more frequently. Why? They are familiar with you and your business services and products. How? Offer discounts, special sales, create new incentives and options that you did not have last year.

Take the show on the road

Most businesses like mine spend time convincing themselves that the show must stay in one location. My thinking is the opposite. How do you find new customers? I find at times when I take the show on the road – trade shows, street fairs, festivals, and business events- I meet new customers who live in my business backyard and they did not realize I was around the corner until they see me across town.

Increase Activities and Events

The best medicine for a stagnant economy is networking. I have increased my activities about 30% from last year – doing more events, meeting more people and participating in business activities. The end result is not immediate – think long-term. My networking has been to connect with more organizations, attend workshops and partner with others to increase my circle of influence (next issue, I will expand on this).

Clean House

When the economy shifts downward, not only do I take stock, but I actually get down to doing all the things that I have procrastinated about: adding new shelves, painting, updating my database and contacts, refreshing my business space – on the web too, and designing a new ad campaign or postcard. Cleaning house is about making changes and it is about doing constructive work that enhance your business in subtle ways. Since my business is seasonal, and I am generally 3-6 months ahead – my Christmas season planning just concluded this week, I am onto After Christmas Sales. Imagine the possibilities.

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  1. Administrator says:

    Fitzroy Searles: Informative and well written article. Thanks for posting the information.

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