Thursday, December 11, 2008

Attitude is Everything. Are you "Open for Business"?

I know you are probably as sick as I am of the news, negativity, and general hand-wringing. Here is what I know. Attitude is everything.

I spoke for a small group of focused individuals at the Portland Business Forum yesterday on the topic, "Networking Strategies to Recession Proof your Business". As I was preparing for this short 25 minute talk, I was reminded of the power and simplicity imbedded in smart business practices and a focused mindset. The content was so well received I wanted to share it with you.
If you haven't noticed, talk of recession creates constriction. Physically, emotionally, and psychologically. That constriction subconciously causes us to withdraw. If you are in business or sales, you can't afford to withdraw at this critical time! Being seen and trusted is essential.

Here are 3 keys to get grounded, stay connected and move forward in challenging times.
  • First, find your faith. It is easy to lose confidence in yourself, your service, or product anytime there is a shift in the market. Compound that with the media and peer conversations and you are left with a huge load of self doubt and fear. Go back to what you know. Your customers need a voice of reason during this volatile season. You have a passion, talent, or product that serves a market segment. What is it? Find the positives in your industry. Communicate that hope with confidence and understanding. Don't lose sight of what you do well.

  • Next, get focused. Focus applies to the three key areas that affect your profit and sales.
    1. Stick to your core expertise. If you choose to expand your scope, look at strategic partnering, joint ventures, sub-contracting, or refer. You can't afford to be distracted doing things you don't do well and can't be profitable. This may require repackaging your core expertise to appeal to the buyers mindset but stay true to your offering. Don't chase dollars.
    2. Stick with your bull's eye. Target prospects and customers who value your service and product and have need for what you do in the near future. Don't know who that is anymore? Go back to basics.
    3. Don't waste energy. Watch who you hang out with, where you spend your time, and what you read. Be selective. You can't afford to the roller coaster of emotions and maintain your position as a leader. Focus on finding like minded people who are not participating in the recession mindset, who are moving forward, and who are adapting.

  • Lastly, follow up. Your customers need to hear from you. Not just to sell them something but with sincere interest to see how they are doing. Your professional network needs the same type of contact. The follow up is where you will learn key information on buying trends, needs, and opportunities.

I am not promoting the ostrich approach! This is not about putting your head in the sand and ignoring what is going on. There is a basis of truth in the negative reports and some industries are hit harder than others. But opportunties still abound.

Bottom line, business is still being done. It is being done by those who are reaching out, engaging in conversations, and filling the gap with a voice of reason. That can be you. Decide to be "Open for Business".

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