By Alex Valderrama
We have been in the design and branding business in Denver for almost 20 years now and I remember at least three major recession-like instances. In a downturn economy, there are too many businesses that act on emotion and don’t take into account several critical factors. First, an economic downturn won’t last forever. Second, you don’t have to react the same way that the masses are reacting. I know it sounds odd, but consider this; not all industries or businesses are affected the same way at the same time. Third, focus on proactive ideas.
Not only can you survive a bad economy but you can actually gain from it.
Remember, not all businesses are alike. So, here are some ideas that you can take with you. Know your competition. If they are backing off on advertising and marketing efforts, maybe now is a good time to increase your marketing, making a larger impression to your prospective clients. Secondly, take advantage of opportunities your competitor has left behind. Like I said earlier, don’t overreact. Don’t make decisions until you have considered all viable options. This may be a good time to hire someone from the outside that can give you a non-biased opinion. Additionally, stay true to your brand core and brand essence. For instance, if your business takes pride in exceptional customer service, don’t let go of five customer service representatives to cut costs. Do what you’ve always done best, and surviving an economic downturn will be less of a challenge.
Here is a quick story. Many years ago we were hired to consult with a pizza restaurant that made phenomenal tasting pizzas due to their masterful mix and quality ingredients. If you have ever worked in a restaurant you know that the quality of the ingredients makes all the difference. After a couple of years, the economy had taken a toll on many businesses, including theirs. They made the decision to go with a less expensive cheese in order to bring the raw costs down and increase profits. The problem was most of their dedicated and loyal clientele cherished the quality of their pizza and when they made the change, their customers could tell the difference and slowly began to disappear. By the time the pizza restaurant acknowledged their mistake, it was too late. Not only had they lost customers due to the economy, but they also lost loyal regulars resulting from that grave business decision. Recovering from decisions like these are sometimes harder to recover from than from economic situations.