The bottom is determined by such a simple equation that it ought to be easier than it actually is to manipulate. Buy low, sell high. Earn more, spend less. But alas, numbers don't lie. --no matter how sharp the pencil. Improving profitability requires ongoing efforts which in and of itself represents a costly, yet necessary investment in business health. We go to the seminars, read the books, and strategize. Then proceed to run off, lamenting that there's just not enough time, if only there were more time we could accomplish amazing personal and business transformations. The time is now. –in a slowing economy . Those that do will survive the slump and will reap the rewards by being ready to capture a greater share on the rebound. As times get tough, there are certain double-edge swards to look out for. While on the one hand, labour, finance and material costs typically go down, an increase in advertising expenditures and decreased revenues typically follow while competing in a lean, buyer's market.

A slump represents a fantastic opportunity to reinvest, reinvent and transform on both an organizational and personal level. Why not seize the moment? The organizations that wait out the slump without unraveling at the seams, will emerge re-energized, in a winning position to launch when the time is right.

Let's take a look at proactive profit improving strategies :

The Customer:

Keep them close by building on the relationships and hone in on the customer service experience. Use the downtime to foster existing customer relationships.

  1. It takes the same amount of time to answer an email whether it's 5 minutes, or 5 days old. Why is it then, that you make your customers wait 2 to 5 business days for a reply? Instead of making them wait, why not make a policy to blow them away with fast replies!

  2. Start a customer care campaign and phone them just to ask how you are doing.

  3. Offer existing customers promotional pricing -you're going to be earning less and spending more looking for new clients, so why not offer an existing client a deal they can't refuse.


Are you maximizing available technological cost-saving benefits

  1. Since it's slow, take the time to evaluate what's working and what's not.

  2. Renegotiate telecommunications and IT contracts -technology and competitive climates change fast. Look at wireless mobile, hosting and data costs, and related service agreements.

  3. Take the time to evaluate work-flow. Paperwork tends to naturally balloon and needs to be pruned and sometimes slashed radically before it swallows you.

  4. Nows the time to call the your hungry vendors that'd been bugging you to demo new systems.

  5. Negotiate contracts, or options to renew, now, in a buyers market.

Advertising: In a word, costly. It doesn't seem to matter what's happening economically either, The demand for an audience continually surpasses the supply of advertising space, and it's only worsened during an economic turn down with the challenge of facing organizations competing desperate to generate new sales. While you can't control the prevailing price demanded, there are some areas to look at for ideas. Consumers are numbed by traditional advertisement channels. Instead of raw advertising. Try something a little different.

  1. Sponsor an amateur sports team.

  2. Leverage existing customer base by generously rewarding their referrals

  3. Synergize by hosting "solutions discovery" meetings between an existing client and your new prospect. This works well when clients complement each other, such as government agencies and large corporation. This leverages you and your company in amazing ways.

  4. Create an online buzz. Delete that old dilapidated home page and start fresh with a new approach. Even Fortune 100 VPs operate blogs to build community within their customer base and is an excellent PR control tool.

  5. Ask for referrals. If you feel that you don't have a good enough relationship with your customers to ask for one, then you've got big problems that more advertising can't fix.


Make an upfront commitment to cut positions as a last resort. Too often we hear rhetoric about how companies value their people. Well, here's your chance to prove it. It's called karma folks and it's a real force to be reckoned with. Happy employees produce more and will actually care about your business if they feel important. An unhappy employee can be more damaging than an unhappy customer . Be honest, be specific and keep them informed. Provide them with tangible motivations:

  1. If sales drop to X, we have to look at layoffs... Any ideas where we can cut costs or increase sales?

  2. Offer voluntary layoffs first

  3. Cut from the top if only as a statement that you value the front lines

  4. Ask if anyone is interested in moving into commissioned sales. Far too many sales professionals are all sizzle and no steak. Most sales departments could really use an injection of technical know how.


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