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A Checklist for Tough Times

A Checklist for Tough Times

Mike Lenhart

We all know that the business environment is tough right now. Consumers aren’t spending money, and our clients aren’t either. We may have some ongoing services we’re providing, like site maintenance, but what can we do to keep some business coming in and save ourselves some income – and worry lines?

Be Grateful for What You’ve Got

In these times, it’s important to remember those clients who’ve given you business in the past and those who have been loyal to you. It’s worth an email, or better yet, a phone call, to thank them for the business and also just to let them know that you’re still there – and available. If you go the email route, steer them to your Website or portfolio site, that is hopefully updated, so they can see what you’ve been up to. A lot of times clients like what they see other people doing. Just maybe they’ll want you to do the same project you’ve done for someone else. In sum, it’s always good to remember those who have helped you out with business.

Communicate with Them

I’ve said this before, but it’s always a good idea to have some sort of consistent communications with your clients, or targeted ones. If you can prepare a periodic newsletter to send out, it will keep your name and abilities on the minds of those you want to reach. Be careful not to make your newsletters or other communications a sales pitch, however. Try to keep them informational and offer a helpful tip or two that your recipients can easily do or use themselves. Make sure you keep your contact information in a convenient location as well, so your targeted folks can easily reach you.

Drop Your Rates?

When times are tough, or when you’re in the slow part of your business cycle, should you consider lowering your rates? If you do, how low should you go? In my experience, it can be a good thing to offer special rates to those loyal clients and give them special treatment. Also, if you choose to lower your rates to get some new business, make sure you let your prospects know that the rates are special and won’t be offered all year ‘round. You can also consider providing an end date for the lowered fees just so you don’t get caught in client expectations for these fire sales during your busy times. One caveat – always remember that our services are viable, and important. So, don’t lower rates so low that you cheapen the entire industry’s value and lose credibility for all of us.

The Final Word

Times get tough for all of us at times. The key is how to capitalize on them and make them work for you. Don’t be afraid to try new things. If they don’t work, that’s OK. If they do, remember them and make sure to recycle them during the next downturn.

If you’re a student, these suggestions may be of little use to you right now. But, keep these things in mind for when you finally get out there. It’s always good to be aware of what goes on in the real world and to possibly prepare yourself in advance. After all, a prepared professional is a successful professional.

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