How to Grow Your Business During a Downturn
Economic forecasts are pessimistic. The financial news headlines speak of doom and gloom. Once more, businesses globally are faced with challenging times.
A downturn in the economy might make you fear for the future of your company. But that doesn’t have to mean you accept defeat.
On the contrary, a downturn offers unique opportunities for small businesses. You simply need to know where to look.
So, to start you thinking, here are several fantastic ways you can still grow your business during challenging financial times.
Up Your Ad Budget
Your instincts might tell you to pull advertising during a downturn. After all, no one is buying.
However, advertising during a recession is an intelligent business move. You’ll be tapping into an audience that has little competition as other businesses in your niche start to reduce their marketing budgets.
If demand in your industry is low, use advertising for other core business goals instead.
You can use it to increase brand awareness so that when the market picks up again, your business is the first one in customers’ minds.
Or you can use advertising to continue to build your email list so that you have a ready audience of leads when you are prepared to run your next offer.
Create a Customer Loyalty Program
Selling to existing customers is far easier than selling to a new customer. So during a recession, turn your attention to ways in which you can keep your customers happy and engaged with your business.
One option that is easy to implement is a customer incentive or loyalty program.
Offer something compelling to your most significant customers as a reward for their business, like a time-limited discount on your most popular service or a special bonus.
Not only will that improve your relationship, but you may get additional business from your existing customers. They’ll pay close attention to an attractive offer that they haven’t seen from you before.
It’s Time to Innovate
Sometimes, the most creative ideas come from the depths of a crisis.
Business is cyclical. Adopt an optimistic and upbeat attitude and use this downturn as a chance to step ahead of the competition and experience company growth.
Invest your time and money in creating an innovative service or product in your industry that you can capitalize on when the economy picks up again.
To create an innovation that will make an impact, start by taking a snapshot of your industry right now.
Economic recessions touch people and businesses in a variety of ways. What, specifically, in this recession is causing a problem for your customer right now?
Step back from your everyday business and look at news articles and industry reports for trends. They will reveal something about where your customers are heading and give you ideas about what you can offer.
Remember, innovations don’t have to be the brainchild of a mad scientist.
You can innovate with a new service, like eCommerce development services, a new pricing structure, or even an innovation in how you manage your customer service operations.
Revamp Your Brand
Is your branding a little tired? During busy times, strong branding often gets overlooked. If the market is starting to slow, it may be the perfect opportunity for you to do a branding overhaul.
Good branding is critical to win customers in a slow market and to help grow your company. A strong brand will demonstrate trust, authority, and expertise.
When starting a rebranding, focus on creating a design that goes to the heart of your business’s personality. How do you want to be perceived? How can you get that message across in your brand?
Good branding is also about consistency. Creating a consistent brand across your website, social media, and customer documentation will help you look professional.
Explore a New Market Segment
Having a specialist niche is a sound idea for business growth. It enables you to carve out a name for yourself in that industry. But during a downturn, it might be time to consider expanding your horizon.
A recession will impact different market segments in different ways. Look at your strengths as a business and whether you can put together an offer or a service that would suit a new type of customer.
You might even consider partnering with another company to offer a joint proposition. This company won’t be a competitor, merely a business offering complementary services to the same target customer.
Drop Low-Profit Customers
It might seem odd to consider dropping customers during a downturn. But this is a tried-and-tested strategy that will help you streamline your business and maximize your profit from remaining customers.
Some customers are more challenging than others. You’ll know from your personal experience the problematic customers.
They haggle over price, order low-cost services, raise complaints, and take time and effort away from your team.
Those valuable team members could be spending that effort winning contracts with some of your prestigious, high-paying customers instead.
Be ruthless. Streamlining helps you grow, so cut the slack in your business where the revenue isn’t worth the time you are putting in to support that client.
Launch a Promotion on Social Media
Sometimes, the easiest way you can grow your agency during a recession is simply to hustle. If you have a decent following, now is the time to run a time-limited promotion on social media to your audience to win new business.
A promotion to offer your services at a discount might initially cost you money, but it will help increase sales. And if clients are impressed with your delivery, these promotions could win you new repeat customers.
You could even tie this promotion in with a social media competition.
Contests are popular on social media, especially on places like Instagram and Facebook, and will help you reach a bigger audience and maybe even grow your email list.
Whatever promotion you opt for, make sure you have the resources to fulfill any orders that come your way.
Discounted services might be more popular than you anticipate, and you want to go out of your way to strengthen your company’s reputation, not damage it.
Even in Tough Times, You Can Still Grow Your Business
It’s time to face the future and whatever challenges arise for your business. By taking proactive steps to grow your business in a recession, you can ride out the storm and might even thrive where others fail.
About the Author: Justin Smith
Since 2004, when founding OuterBox, Justin Smith has been at the forefront of SEO and digital marketing. In 2021 Neil Patel rated OuterBox the #1 eCommerce SEO Company in the World. Located in Akron, OH, with more than 80 digital marketing professionals in-house, OuterBox has grown to be a leader in the SEO industry.