Be aware of the market and aggressive in marketing. What doesn’t make sense and seems out of step with everything else? These will define opportunities. Don’t be tempted to pull back on research and development. New needs abound.
Your customers are worried too, so find out how you can respond to their needs. Offer educational programs, pro bono work, or anything else that will ease their pain. They will thank you later with open wallets.
Invest in yourself. Arm yourself with new skills or information that your customers will appreciate after the recession passes.
Rather than reduce price, offer more value to your customers. When you know what’s important to your customers, you’ll better serve their needs without having to cut your prices. Extend them better terms. Improve the purchasing process. Get your products or services to them more quickly. Show them ways in which to better use your products.
Increase visibility with your customers. Advertise, attend trade shows, and do what has always worked—just do more of it. You’ll stand out in the crowd because most others will cut back.
Invest aggressively in marketing, innovation, and advertising, but cut back in unnecessary overhead and redundant labor costs.
However, don’t let key talent go because you may never get that caliber of people back. Find other things for them to do, which will stretch them and save money for the company.
Shed sunk costs. Just because you’ve always done a certain thing and have perhaps spent an inordinate amount of money on it doesn’t mean it’s still the right thing to do. Throwing good money after bad never makes sense—makes even less now. Ask yourself, “If this weren’t the status quo, would we still do it?”
Create easier ways for customers to work with you. Consider different payment plans, adding more value to your products and services, or simply giving your customers more attention before, during, and after the sale.
Recast yourself, products, or services. The classic example of recasting is Arm and Hammer Baking Soda. Once used only for recipes that called for a tablespoon at a time, baking soda is now a refrigerator deodorant that requires an entire box at once.