Tips for Growing Your Business During Tough Economic Times

March 29, 2023

Growing a business is never easy. However, doing so during tough economic times adds extra challenges to the mix. That does not mean it is impossible, but rather that it will take extra planning. The following tips can help you develop a solid growth strategy to help you power through economic downturns. 

Listen to Your Customers

Keeping your existing customer base happy is vital to surviving an economic downturn. While you want to ensure a high rate of satisfaction across the board, it is often beneficial to focus extra attention on your most loyal and highest-spending clients. 

Now is a great time to develop a voice of the customer program to track customer experiences and reactions. Many businesses shy away from asking customers for feedback, possibly out of fear of what they will hear. However, this is a huge mistake.

Instead of burying your head in the sand when you get negative feedback, use it to inform future decisions. Then, reach out to the person who complained, let them know you took their advice, and outline the changes you made as a result. This can turn a negative experience completely around. 

Listening to current customers is often not enough. You must also reach out to former customers. Remind them about their experience with your business and ask if there is any way you could be of service to them now. This can help keep you top of their mind when they are ready to make a purchase.

Maintain Healthy Financials

Don't underestimate the importance that a good relationship with your bank plays during a slow economy. Sure, online banks may save you some money on fees, but they do not offer personalized service and customer support. Those factors can be crucial to keeping your cash flow positive in a poor economy. 

If your cash flow is suffering to the point that you need an infusion of liquid assets, you might consider taking a business loan. For real state businesses, one can opt for an SBA 504 loan for real estate. Many small businesses choose this route. However, creating a line of credit when things are good so that you can draw on it as needed during leaner times is also worth considering. In many cases, it can be a more solid financial move. 

Invest in a Marketing Strategy

Take time while things are slow to revisit your current marketing strategy. There may be components that are no longer working and some that are still incredibly effective. Weed through and remove the approaches that no longer serve your business interests. 

Remember, marketing and advertising are not the same things. The former is a comprehensive strategy for identifying customer needs and how you can best meet them while the latter is strictly promotional. In that light, advertising is only one component of your broader marketing strategy. 

If you aren't using digital content, now is an excellent time to focus energy on that. Starting a company blog is affordable compared to many other approaches and helps highlight the value your business provides. In other words, it meets the needs of customers looking for information. 

Get Involved Within the Local Community

Depending on where your business operates, developing a community presence could have a huge impact. For example, if you are in a close-knit community, raising awareness with a few members can help generate a larger customer base. Additionally, giving back lets people know you are interested in the same things as them and that you are invested in making the community a better place. 

Here are a few ways you can get more involved in your local community:

  • Join the local chamber of commerce
  • Set up at community events
  • Give volunteer presentations at schools or senior centers
  • Talk to church groups about your services 
  • Donate to fundraisers and social causes

It is possible to grow a small business when the economy takes a turn for the worse. Success often rests on your ability to invest in customer relationships, implement a solid marketing strategy, and maintain a strong financial position. 

Emiy Watson

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