Rodney Johnson | Friday, November 30, 2012 >>
You can always pick them out of a crowd…
In almost every speech I give, I can point out the business owners without ever talking to them. They’re typically very interested in my speech about the direction of our economy. They lean forward a little. They pay close attention.
And they don’t look happy.
They look worried and a little worn down.
These are the people – like you – that exist at the sharp end of the economic stick, living and dying with the business cycle.
You have a right to be cautious. It’s dangerous out there. But you didn’t get to where you are by allowing fear to paralyze you. Instead, you want to know what you can “do” to survive and prosper in the years ahead.
So here’s a list of five things the small business owner can, and really MUST, do now…
#1: Don’t be fooled by talks of recovery
When the best description of the economy is “anemic” after the worst downturn since the Great Depression, you know things aren’t right. Jobs are scarce. Prices are rising. This doesn’t end well.
Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by talking heads, politicians or even a crack-addicted market. Instead, stay grounded.
#2: Know your clients
Upscale clients have their wealth. If this is your market, be thankful and sell to them like crazy. When the equity markets roll over again, this group will go back underground. Their spending is the most elastic, growing and contracting with the feel of the markets.
If you sell to anyone else, then the squeeze will continue. $3.50 gas, rising health and education costs and falling incomes all amount to one thing: a squeeze on your profits.
#3: Focus on repair, rebuild, renovation
From cars to electronics to lawn equipment, the market for used goods is flying. It takes a legion of people to keep all of the used stuff in operational order. If you don’t have a service department, consider creating one. If you do, advertise the heck out of it.
#4: Secure your lending
Another round of credit crisis is coming… soon. That’s why large companies are raising cash through debt. They refuse to be at the mercy of banks that freeze or call lines of credit. Do the same thing as the big boys. Borrow money and bank it, especially while rates are cheap.
#5: Identify weak competitors
Finally, the best defense is a good offense. Know your space and who’s in it. Understand who among your competitors has the best clients. Then make them your acquisition target. When things get ugly, go on a buying spree. This will set you up for years to come.
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