Economic cycles – up and down – are inevitable, whether they’re national, regional or local. Businesses are cyclical too. One year you’re up; another year you’re down. Hopefully you’ve had a string of good years in between. The causes vary: Technology can make a product or service obsolete; an important client can go out of business; a new, aggressive competitor has moved into your territory.
Regardless of the timing or cause, preparation can mitigate negative effects. Strategic Marketing Consultant Neville Pokroy in his Mastermind Solutions Inc. article offers Six Steps To Overcoming The Economic Roller Coaster. Being proactive runs throughout his recommendations.
“If you plan for your next downturn, you ‘ll be in great shape when it comes,” Pokroy says. “In fact, if you’ve already put plans in place, and are executing those plans, you could prevent the next downturn from coming at all.” One aspect of his six steps is a customer-building process called AIDA:
- Catch their Attention
- Raise their Interest with reasons your product or service is what they want
- Create a Desire in them to buy from you
- Prompt buying Action when they’re ready
The more customers you invest in during good times provides more cushion for your business during downtimes. If there are personnel changes or cutbacks within some accounts, you’ll have a broader base to make up for the loss.
Big Change, Best Path: Successfully Managing Organizational Change with Wisdom, Analytics and Insight, authored by Accenture Strategy’ s Warren Parry and published by Kogan Page, helps organizations navigate complex organizational change using ground-breaking modeling to understand success and failure and to learn from it to become more agile and resilient.
In a whitepaper Turning Change Upside Down, Accenture Strategy addresses the “inherently messy, chaotic process” of change – whether it’s due to a downturn or an organizational evolution. Parry and his colleague Randy Wandmacher encourage “Fitness for Change,” describing it as “a requirement to be in business – not something you pay attention to only when change comes along.”
They write: “Developing this ‘fitness for change’ is similar to athletes training for a competition. Training in the right way – focusing on specific muscle groups for strength and flexibility, for example – will build up their conditioning, enabling them to withstand greater exertion without any drop in performance.”
When you prepare for change in good times and bad, you steady your business to take advantage of growth when it occurs and to strengthen your staff and loyal customers in the face of difficulties.