Monday, February 16, 2009

How to Dance in the Rain of Our Current Economic Storm

Last night my friend Andy sent me a killer quotation from one of our favorite philosophers, A. Nonymous:

“You can't sit around and wait for the storm to be over. You've got to learn how to dance in the rain.”

I immediately thought of our current economic condition.

Yes, business sucks.
Yes, layoffs are abounding.
Yes, job stability is wavering.

The challenge is learning how to dance in the rain.

So, put on your parka and roll up your jeans. Here’s a list of four business growth strategies to weather our current economic storm:

1. Leverage your downtime. Take advantage of your downtime to accomplish projects and activities you wouldn’t be able to do if you were booked solid. With this approach, you’ll probably end up accomplishing more than ever...

For example, if you’re not spending as many billable hours with your clients this quarter, use that extra time to start blogging more. When leveraged correctly, your blog posts can actually attract new clients. Here’s how.

Or, if you’re working a little bit on the weekends, consider spending some of that time at a local coffee shop or hangout of your choice. When positioned strategically, your presence at that hangout will elevate your visibility. Here’s how.

Lastly, if you’re not traveling as much as much as you’d like, leverage the in-town time to get involved with more networking or community activities. When approached with the right attitude, these opportunities will help you be at the right place at the right time, simply by being in a lot of places.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: What is this downtime an opportunity for? How can you use this situation as an opportunity to learn something about yourself and change for the better?

2. Keep support flowing. Connect with people you trust AND who are experiencing similar struggles in their business. If you don’t already have one, create a monthly accountability or mastermind group. Set a plan for staying in touch, supporting each other and brainstorming strategies to dance in the rain of our current economic storm.

Keep mind, the purpose of this strategy is NOT to sit around and bitch about how terrible the economy is. Misery might love company, but that doesn’t mean you have to invite it over. Be careful not to allow your conversations to carry a negative, futile, woe-is-me tune. Maintain a healthy balance between optimism and realism.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: Who else can you talk to about this? Whose thinking sparks your own? Who else has failed in this way before, and how can you get that person to help you?

3. Stir the pot. Please forgive me for including the following motivational fluff in this article: “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ll always gotten.”

Corny? Yes.

Valid? Hell yes.

So, your first step is to begin asking yourself questions like:

o How could you build something you’ve never built before?
o Are you listening to what your customers are not telling you?
o What personal skills have you not tapped into yet to build your business?

This will get your mind thinking in the right direction.

Next, brainstorm a list of business growth activities that that your either HATE, or would otherwise be avoided during prosperous times. For example:

o Terrified of talking to strangers? Maybe networking an additional two hours a week is the answer.
o Suck at making phone calls? Set aside time each morning for follow up activities to acclimate yourself to the process.
o Scared of writing? Get up an hour earlier to begin journaling your thoughts or and accumulate a few small victories.
o Apprehensive about working with the media? Hire my Go-To-Guy for PR, Paul Krupin, to write a killer press release and set up a few interviews to elevate your visibility.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: What’s the one aspect of your business that you brag to your coworkers about never having to depend on for success? What if you tried actually doing that for a while?

4. Use every crisis. In the midst of crisis, your coolness, honesty and accessibility CAN have the power to support and reassure your customers. But only if you leverage it properly. Here’s an exercise you might try:

o Start a blank document. Make a list of twenty specific ways your customers can weather the current economic storm. (If that seems like a lot to you, it’s not. Setting an idea quota like this will make the brainstorming process fly by.)

o Approach the page like you were writing an article. This means each of the twenty items is as a subtitle, under which there are a few supporting points, ideas, stories, quotations and the like.

o Forget about grammar, punctuation, structure. Or, whatever other Bullshite English Major Barrier to Creativity stands in your way. Just relax into the page. Have fun. Write the first ideas that come to your mind. LISTEN. Write what wants to be written. And don’t feel the need to appraise whether or not your writing is good or bad. It just is.

o When you’re done, go back and clean it up. Add any additional examples or supporting ideas that might make it better. Read it out loud a few times to make sure it sounds human.

o Next, ask yourself the question: “Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?” For example, you could convert that document into a whitepaper and post it on your website or blog. You could send a hard copy in the mail to every one of your customers. You might also consider extracting one item a week from your list and sending it out to your customers via email.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: What did you write today? Is everything you know written down somewhere? And if you spent an additional fifteen minutes a day writing, how could that process help you add new value to your customers and prospects?

REMEMBER: You can't sit around and wait for the storm to be over. You've got to learn how to dance in the rain.

Accept what IS.
Leverage your downtime.
Keep support flowing.
Stir the pot.
Use every crisis.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you dancing in the rain?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "11 Ways to Out Market the Competition," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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