How your business can survive the recession

With the world economy suffering on a global scale and current predictions for the near future less than rosy, how can UK businesses survive the recession/credit crunch and come out of the other side in a better position than when they started?

Differentiation

You have no doubt heard about Innocent Drinks. Their marketing, PR and success have prompted many people to decide to start their own business. The number of potential clients that we meet explaining that they want to be ‘the next Innocent’ or that their branding should be ‘just like Innocent’ is staggering.

Innocent have succeeded due to the fact that they did things differently and it worked brilliantly. Their marketing department has done a fantastic job of creating a dedicated tribe of followers. Sooner or later there is going to be a new Innocent that everyone wants to be like – and now is the perfect time to start.

Differentiation can take many forms. Perhaps its the branding, product or service you offer, the way you deliver it, how you interact with your clients or your pricing strategy. It is very important to bear in mind that your differentiation must be commercially viable and strike a cord in your customers minds. Get people thinking “why didn’t we do things like that before?” or “what a great way of doing things”.

Rebranding

If your business’ image is beginning to look tired and out of date, a rebrand may be the perfect answer to create interest and motivate your team.

By creating a new logo, product name, packaging or even business name, your business can be perceived in a whole new way.

A professional graphic design agency should be used to ensure the best results are obtained. They can also be used to generate new ideas and help to formulate a brand manual advising how to use your logo and design with your product or service.

Marketing & PR

It may not seem like the best time to be spending money on marketing or PR, but focused campaigns will ensure that your target market know about your business when the recession ends.

Marketing doesn’t need massive budgets and online marketing is a cost effective and tangible way of building a brand due to the fact that you can measure your campaign success.

Using popular social networking tools like Twitter, Facebook or Linked In to interact with your market and increase your followers is simple. All it takes is a unique idea to grab attention  and the medium to distribute the message and the rest will follow. Measuring success is also simple through the use of web stats, follower numbers or your number of fans.

Pricing

Depending on your market, reducing your prices during a recession may not be the way to go. Trying to increase sales by lowering prices will result in you ultimately lowering the value of your product or service. It may also lead to disgruntled clients who have previously paid higher prices for your products or service.

If you do decide to lower your prices, what will you do when the recession ends? You may find it difficult to justify a price increase or to add further value, thus alienating potential customers and your market.

I have read about some businesses who have actively increased their prices during this recession. Their theory behind this rise is to lower their number of clients that they have (and therefore the resource to manage them) but gain more revenue. This can be a risky strategy however again depends on your market and brand.

Existing Customers

It is always easier to sell to existing happy customers than it is to spend a lot of time and effort trying to gain new ones.
They will no doubt be feeling the squeeze just as much as you are, however they may be more susceptible to paying for a new product or service as they have a relationship with you and know your business already.

Existing customers are also a great resource to trial new ideas, products and services and we have found that they are more than happy to give you constructive feedback on pricing or a product for you. You could offer an incentive to provide feedback such as a future discount or redeemable voucher if needed.

Summary

It goes without saying that a recession is always a nervous time for business. An uncertain future can lead to poor decision-making. It is important to take a step back, review and act on ways to capitalise from this situation and the points discussed above are only a few of the ways that you can help your business.