There’s an old (and wise) saying that “a rising tide lifts all ships.” Even if you’re not in the boat business that particular phrase bears thinking about in today’s uncertain business climate.
Some of you came through the recent go-go years of our economy, and your businesses were lifted by hurricane flood surges! If you were in the right sector, it was relatively easy during that time to be successful…if you sold it, the customers would come and buy. It was easy to convince yourself that you were a great entrepreneur, sales and revenues were rising, customers were begging to give you business. You probably had all the answers about customer service, marketing, pricing, etc. If all you’ve known are great times, your business may lack what it needs to survive in our new and un-improved economy.
Now, what I’m going to suggest you do right now is going to be unpleasant, but it could save your business during these “low tides.” Try to take a cold, hard, objective look at how your business operates, and answer this question: “Was I really a great entrepreneur, or was I just lucky enough to be operating during the boom years?”
Really put some thought into it: did you always offer outstanding customer service? Was your pricing competitive? Did you build long-term relationships? Was your product/service a good value? Did you watch your costs with an eagle-eye?
In tough times, customers expect great service, good value, and very competitive pricing. You should aim to give them more than their money’s worth. If you were used to just opening your doors and standing aside while customers flooded in, this new way of operating may take some work. Just because you were successful, don’t delude yourself into believing that you can operate in the same old way.