News: August 2011
Focus on 3 key components to build a successful strategy in a recession
Cut expenses – When it comes to cutting expenses, think about things such as postponing non-critical expenditures, buying in bulk (if practical), bartering services and making only planned purchases. Make planned purchases a company policy and only deviate from this policy if absolutely necessary.
For example — rather than spending money on outsourced printing, it may be cheaper to print everything in-house. However if your printer breaks down then you may need to use a print-bureau in order to get paperwork out within a tight deadline. Focusing on expenses should have a direct effect on net profit.
If you have the staff resources, you could assign responsibility for all expenses to an office manager. The office manager can then insist on sign-off and justification / business cases for all office expenditure — thereby reducing unnecessary costs to the business.
Build brand recognition – Your firm could offer the best products and services in the world but if nobody knows about them you will never survive in business. Building brand recognition is all about getting your name out there.
Every business should have a marketing plan which maps out the marketing, promotional and brand building activities that the firm will undertake throughout the next 12 months.
Assign a budget to your marketing plan and stick to it. Cost effective options for building awareness of your brand include social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Other options may also include advertisements/editorial pieces in trade journals, business publications and newspapers, events, sponsorship, PR and seminars/webinars.
If you are not sure where to start, try looking at your competitors and observe which marketing activities are working for them. This is your starting point — now build on this and develop a marketing plan specific to your business which focuses on the strengths associated with your brand and which differentiate you from the competition.
Increase revenues – Increasing revenue per customer is key to growing your business. Analyse your current client base and which products / services they purchase from your firm.
Try to identify opportunities to offer additional services to your existing clients and offer these services as part of a package — thereby increasing the value received by the client. If the perceived level of value is higher, your firm will be able to charge a higher price for a product/service package which will have a positive effect on revenue per customer.
Packages can also be marketed as a value proposition to attract new customers and even win back old clients who may no longer deal with your firm.