This month’s focus: Stabilizing Turbulent Business Cycles
There are times when a business might think hunkering down during a raging business upheaval or uncertain business climate is prudent. That may be true in certain circumstances however, what I would argue is; this is exactly the time to also be proactive in helping current customers as well as potential in a more educational process rather than just the selling version.
Case Study: During the late 1980’s the banking crisis now known as “The Savings and Loan” crisis hit. It changed the business landscape so quick, so fast, that at times it was hard to keep one’s head about you let alone trying to make plans.
Everyone was nervous from the large-sized right down to the solo business owner. Banks were changing credit terms on the fly. Companies that were funded for daily operations via their accounts receivable found one day what was accepted and know became unacceptable and mysterious.
A figurative example would be: You had working capital loaned on 30 days of your receivables to suddenly be notified now it was only on 21 – then the next month 14 – then maybe only weeks later 7. It was absolute chaos for anyone in business let alone businesses such as the food and restaurant that lived and died via credit terms.
Outright fear from uncertainty was held by many, and with good reason. The next call or letter from your bank could mean when you hung up the phone – you hung up a “Closed” sign. Yet there were those that came out even better on the other side.
The one’s that not only stabilized but actually gained market share were those that cut through all the nonsensical aspects of trying to close sales and began working from a standpoint of offering expertise, or valuable resourceful knowledge that both customers as well as employees could make use of.
Many of us took on the demeanor of “information conduits.” We began by qualifying as well as quantifying the staggering amounts of useful and purging the useless information that we could get our hands on. Then I/we relayed openly and honestly what we believed we knew – and what we knew we didn’t.
I had prospective customers that previously wouldn’t take my calls – call me looking for information because of a referral from my actual clients telling them “they could trust what I was saying.”
Once the dust settled it was clear: The one’s that truly offered to be of service to any and all that were looking in an honest, open, and fair manner reaped the business left behind by those either too scared to say a word, or talked too much about “how scary” it was.
When things are tough – that’s when opportunity strikes. When it’s easy – anyone and everyone is doing it. But during turbulent times most either don’t (or wont) get in the batters box. Or worse, they look for walks when they should be looking to read the stitches – and swinging when appropriate.
© 2014 Mark St.Cyr
Profiting At The Bottom Line™ is a monthly memo, which is pithy, powerful, and to the point. It focuses on innovative techniques and or ideas that you can put to work immediately in your daily or business life.