On Surviving the Economic Crisis Part I

Does this scenario pretty much tell the story of your business? Here are a few useful strategies that can help you to weather the storm:

You’ve brought your business to life, you’re making sales, gaining clients and gaining confidence. You are positioned to turn a profit at last. Then, crash! goes the economy. How do you hang on to your dream and keep your business alive?

Here are a few good tips that will help you to prepare your company to respond effectively in a rapidly changing environment:

  • Get better acquainted with your customers

What was it about your company that drew them in? Are you delivering what customers want in a way that encourages a long term relationship? Are there additions or variations to your product mix that previously you were reluctant to offer, but could offer now?

  • Nurture strategic relationships, brainstorm collaborations

With whom can you partner in ways that will make doing business better for all? Can referral relationships or co-promotional activities be pursued? Are you an active member of your local chamber of commerce and neighborhood business association?

  • Devise a smarter marketing plan

Use the deeper understanding of your customers to roll out a more effective marketing plan. Now you can craft a message that resonates, place advertisements in media outlets that your customers trust, outwit the competition and distinguish your company in the marketplace. You will emerge a winner!


Fortune Favors the Prepared

Fortune Favors the Prepared

Hello again,

I’m back with a little more for the blog.  Earlier this month, on Thursday June 4, I lucked up and got invited to a truly marvelous half day symposium that was held at Northeastern University’s Center for Emerging Markets.  The symposium was organized by Ravi Ramamurti, Distinguished Professor of International Business and the center’s director.

Capitalizing on Emerging Market Opportunities featured several high ranking speakers from government and industry, who offered some revealing perspectives on the reality of foreigners doing business in China and India. The directors of the US-China and US-India Business Councils both spoke, as did VPs from Liberty Mutual International, Staples, EMC, Tata, Pfizer and Thermo Fisher Scientific.  I took lots of notes.

Ready For My Close-up

So am I making a plan to do business overseas in the near future? That’s an exciting prospect (I love to travel and experience other lands and cultures. I also love to shop and eat!), but  it does not appear to be in the cards at this time.

However, prospective clients may be taking a look at how their organizations might fare in certain international markets. Some may have stars in their eyes and see juicy new revenue streams  and others may feel pressured, reluctantly viewing markets outside the US as the only way to keep the business profitable.

Regardless of the motive, those of us who traffic in business strategy or work with decision makers in the tactical functions, which could include coaching management teams, facilitating CEO forums, market research and strategic marketing, operations, sales  and of course brainstorming sessions and strategic planning, will be better able to serve our clients and our businesses if we are able to anticipate the opportunities and challenges that those clients are likely to encounter as they evaluate  entering overseas markets.  We need to know what they don’t know!

Knowledge is Power

It all comes down to the tried and true axiom of knowing your customer.  We need to know what excites them and what worries keep them awake at night.  We need to be able to show them ways they can make money, ways they can save money and also the ways they might lose money.  One of the ways we can do all of that is to stay abreast of what is going on in local, regional, national and international business environments.  So keep  reading the WSJ, the NYT plus your local newspaper.  Be sure to attend a conference or two before this year ends and get some useful info on business issues that may be on the minds of clients and prospects.  It makes for some good networking. You just might meet your next client!

More later,


Set Goals and Objectives for Your Business

Good morning all,

Welcome to my first post. I’m a self employed business development consultant who specializes in facilitating the brainstorming sessions that are part of the strategic planning process and I also lead sales skills training workshops.  Previously, I had a career in sales and marketing, working at Fortune 100 companies. In 1996 I was laid off and I’ve been self employed (and self unemployed!) ever since.

I’ve started this blog so that self employed consultants and other freelancers could have a forum to discuss our successes, fears, failures, clients, prospects and survival strategies. I hope you’ll join in and share your experiences.

On Friday June 19 I will present a half day seminar on how to set up and run a successful strategic planning session for your company. Business owners and VPs or Directors of marketing, sales, operations or finance could find this a useful course.

Difficult economic times require smart business strategies and a real leader must take the initiative to step up and address the tough issues. Those who attend the seminar will learn how to quickly get started on analyzing major business challenges and setting goals and objectives that are achievable, that are effective and that others in the organization will support and implement.

I’ll provide a case study that will allow everyone to get the flavor of what it’s like to do this in real time. The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce is the organizer of a business education program called “The Classroom” and my session, called “Plan to Succeed”, is part of the series. Register at http://www.cambridgechamber.org  and cost is $70.00. Maybe I’ll meet a few of you there? Hope so.

More later,