Grow your business in a tight economy

The economy is sputtering and you need a stomach of iron to watch the daily fluctuations of the stock market; but people ARE still buying. Many businesses are able to make money in spite of the economic meltdown and some are growing at a rapid pace.

According to Automatic Data Processing (ADP), a provider of business outsourcing solutions, the outlook for small business looks optimistic. According to ADP, over 200,000 small business jobs have been created in the last six months. There has been a continuation of growth by small businesses, defined as companies with less than 50 workers, adding 28,000 new jobs in September.

Small businesses have advantages over large corporations. They are able to move quickly in response to market changes and customer demands. They can maintain close contact with their customer base more easily to build customer loyalty. And they can flex staff in response to business demands to save overhead.

Whether large or small, there are things you can do to grow your business in any economy. Smart businesses are taking advantage of the economic meltdown by marketing and acquiring new customers. Here are some techniques to build your business:

  • Get closer. Have a focus group of key clients and ask them what types of challenges they are facing. Buy them lunch and listen to their issues and brainstorm possible solutions. Make sure you follow up with each participant, thanking them for their input. Look for possible opportunities for new products or services.

  • Conduct periodic surveys. Use Survey Monkey to get customer input quickly on issues in their industry. The basic membership is free and you can create surveys quickly to be completed on-line. This survey service can also be used to gather input from employees, etc.

  • Offer solutions. People are willing to pay if you can solve their problems, save them money, or save them time. No one likes to be sold to but people love to buy, especially if they see value. What solutions can you offer that makes life easier for your customers?