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Posts Tagged ‘Recession’

It may sound a little strange, but in retrospect, I can’t think of a better time to have started my business than during the recession.

I trained myself up on food safety and manufacturing, as well as on managing a business during the depths of the economic downturn. I didn’t mean for it to happen that way, but in reality, now I’m ready to scale up, the general atmosphere for businesses is much more positive.

Now, I realise I have some ingredients for a tasty business which can succeed:

  • the sector of the market I’m operating in has had a record-breaking 12% rise last year despite the recession;
  • my never-ending, and indeed, increasing passion for cooking the best authentic Mexican food there is in the land;
  • importantly, the great, fantastic people I have met along the way who bring different experiences and skills …

All of this seems to be combining to create something very special. Maybe entrepreneurs are like passionate foodies in the kitchen, combining the different ingredients to create a delicious meal, where timing, quality of input, skill, and the heating element of their passion all have a part to play to create success.

You can find out more about Marcela on the new interactive business website www.inafishbowl.com

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I set up my first business during the recession of 1990. At the time I was given some great advice, though initially I didn’t fully appreciate its value. I thought it might be useful, given the current economic climate, to pass this advice along…

“If you enjoy something and are good at it, don’t go into business to do it. Go into business so that you can do the thing you enjoy and are good at.”

It took me a while to figure out the gem of wisdom here. Excited as I was to be setting up my own business, and taking control of my own destiny; what was motivating me was that I would be doing something I enjoyed and felt I was good at. The problem with this is that it puts the “going into business” aspect of your new venture into second place. Whereas it should come first.

You may be a good web designer, or chiropractor, or recruitment consultant, or even helicopter pilot. But if you are not prepared to be a good business person, you best stay on someone else’s pay-roll. Or if no one is prepared to pay you to be a web designer, chiropractor etc keep these skills as a hobby.

You need to be thinking “I am going into business and will be a business person first.” A by-product of your business is that you get to do something that you enjoy. If you do not focus on being a business person first: areas such as cash-flow, sales, market research, administration etc. are likely to come second to the delivery of your product or service. And those wrong priorities can easily lead to business failure.

Now, I am sure that you are a good web designer, or chiropractor, or recruitment consultant, or even helicopter pilot – but what makes you think you are a good business person?

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This week I wanted to talk about and touch upon data cleansing as, in a recession, it is perhaps even more important to keep your data up to date. After all, many of us are trying to cut costs wherever we can but we also know when to make the right investments in order to continue to speak to our current clients, and on the flipside of that acquire meaningful and deeply researched data that will enable you to be speaking to the right companies for the products and/or services that you deliver.

Over time, companies collect a significant amount of existing client and new client data. They can have entire databases of lapsed, current and potential client data but it is not necessarily all accurate and actionable data.

Data cleansing is something that should be done at least twice a year (business data often decays at the rate of up to 40% per year). If you want to make the most of your existing client data so you can keep running effective campaigns, it could be time to take a second look at your existing database.

Removing incorrect details can save you time and money when prospecting potential clients, speaking to existing clients or speaking to lapsed clients.

If client data is entered incorrectly, it can cause data headaches at a later date. If that same piece of data is entered differently more than once then the two opposing records can result in an inefficient process, confused and untrusting potential clients and confused sales staff.

If you store data such as physical addresses, phone numbers or email addresses you need to make sure that the rate of duplication kept to an absolute minimum – hence my recommendation to cleanse your data at least twice a year –more if it is in consistent use. Precise data is essential business incorrect data can very easily impede on your otherwise successful sales and marketing campaigns.

So is this the sort of exercise you would like to do in-house?

Some companies do this in-house and we have seen some businesses are very good at this, but it is hard to keep up motivation and salespeople often feel their time could be better spent making money for the company (and themselves!) than cleansing data.

Outsourcing the cleansing of your data is a much more efficient, easy and less costly exercise and you can get your be sales and marketing data in great shape without the headaches of doing it in-house.

Employ a professional organisation to give you a full data audit and you’ll be left with valid, de-duplicated data on prospects that are ready to be engaged. The data cleansing exercise will systematically go through your data and ensure that the records your teams use remain accurate. At the same time, you can unleash a two-pronged attack on your data, cleansing it one on hand and using that data to provide new sales and marketing leads for your staff to close on the other.

Matthew Baker, Resonata Data Consultancy

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In the last few months I have received numerous requests to run workshops and comment on how to cope in a recession. This is what I have been saying.

 

1. Don’t do gloomy
No one wants to listen to a moaner.  The circumstances might be different, but you don’t have to be miserable. If you are, you’ll run out of clients and friends, fast. If possible, do not use the R word.

 

2. Don’t invoke a higher power
Bad performers love a recession because they can claim it’s nothing to do with their performance – it’s the economy, apparently. Bad people are bad whatever the economy is doing.

 

3. You only need one girlfriend
Wandering about complaining that there is no work is like saying there are no women in your town. You only need one girlfriend or piece of work, so go and find it.

 

4. Good companies do the right things all the time
There is no difference between the things companies should do in a recession versus what they should be doing in any other circumstances. If you have to ask what to do differently in a recession, then it’s probably too late.

 

5. Sometimes things go up, and sometimes they go down
So what if the economy is different at the moment? What do you expect, perpetual good times? Your success is entirely in your own hands.

 

6. Nip into the gap
You need to be dexterous enough to nip into the gaps that other people miss. Three examples follow.

 

7. If they want to save on their agency costs…
Go in for a one-off project. Forget retainers and sweep up what’s left. They save money and you gain income.

 

8. If they have fired a lot of people…
Propose a cost-effective shot in the arm. The remaining staff will be low in morale and wondering if they are next. Suggest something that helps them out.

 

9. If their income has plummeted…
Then they need new selling angles, a renewed business effort, and galvanizing of the troops. Propose your versions of these.

 

10. Stop talking about it and get on with something constructive!

 

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