Monday, August 17, 2009

Six Tips to Help Your Business Prosper in the New Economy

What's your strategy for emerging from the current recession with a stronger, healthier business? It's no longer business as usual and the economic recovery will take place in a new business landscape. Main Street businesses unable to adapt to this “new business norm” will find themselves struggling. Companies will need to quickly adjust to smaller consumer budgets, higher taxes, globalization, tighter credit and a new breed of empowered customers.

Here are six tips from executive coaching organization, Vistage international, to help your company adjust and remain competitive in this new business landscape.

#1 Take advantage of the stimulus plan

The U.S. stimulus plan has numerous tax deductions, credits and incentives that benefit businesses. It might be time to become an approved government supplier or vendor so you can take advantage of the federal dollars.

#2 Pursue innovation

There's one essential post-financial-crisis action that all businesses need to undertake: Add more value to your offering. To figure out where to add value, tap the brain trust of both your customers and your employees.

#3 Understand your customer better

To figure out what your customers want, spend time with them and listen to what they have to say. You'll deepen your relationship and get ideas for new products.

#4 Strengthen your value proposition

If you don't have a simple sentence to describe your business, then you need one. Vistage speaker Mark Satterfield has devised a do-it-yourself template to help you state what you do in a concise, memorable way. Just fill in the blanks in this sentence: “I specialize in working with ---- (who?) helping them --- (to do what?). Don't get too technical or too general in your description.

#5 Use tactical advertising and marketing

Negotiate discounted ad rates and then use analytics to track the results--do more of what works and less of what doesn't. When your competitors stop marketing and advertising, step up your campaign and take their customers.

#6 Build your social media presence

Social media is here to stay and your business needs to be onboard. You can use sites like Facebook and Twitter to drive traffic to your Web site or you can use them (or a blog) to build a place where your industry or audience connects with your brand. When people connect with you in positive ways, they spread the word. Create brand evangelists and your company will be better for it.