Six Tips to Stay Relevant in Today’s Economy
Opportunity doesn’t always loudly knock. Sometimes it whispers in plain sight, but we may not see it.
We all have preconceived notions about what business success or failure looks like. We are all bombarded with constant news about the state of the economy, good or bad. It is all too easy to get caught up in worry or elation and forget the most important thing about opportunity — it’s up to us to seize it.
It may seem counterintuitive. Our tendency during lean times is to hold onto what we’ve got and avoid taking chances. In fact just the opposite is wise. There’s never been a more important time to be flexible and nimble in your business strategy. It may be the most important thing a company can do.
Uncertain economic times compel us to look at everything we do with a fresh set of eyes — and to seriously evaluate every idea, enterprise, proposal or partnership that holds profit potential. Following are some tips to help businesses stay relevant, regardless of the economy:
1. Always be on the lookout — Constantly ask yourself, what opportunities am I overlooking? What are things I could be doing that I am not doing? What relationships should I be nurturing and cultivating? In this economy you can’t take anything for granted. We all have to look for new opportunities. Maybe it means looking for new ways to get things done through resources like Elance.com, guru.com and oDesk.com. I have found in my businesses that turning some work over to freelancers allows me to focus on the things I am best at.
2. Never be positional — Always be open-minded and question your perspective, whether with clients, partners or employees. Keep an open mind that your way may not be the right way, the only way or the best way. An idea from your customer, client, partner, affiliate or employee may hold the key to a profitable new enterprise.
3. Know your resources — Constantly evaluate your resources to optimize your company’s efficiency. Ask, am I getting the most out of my resources? Are there cheaper and better ways to get things done? Am I getting the productivity I need out of each resource? Am I using each one in the most logical, efficient manner? A good example is the question many companies are asking themselves: How much time and money should we dedicate to marketing through social networking? This is one area where you should constantly evaluate the ROI of your resources.
4. Be open to new opportunity no matter how "out there" it may seem — Maybe it is a partnership with someone you have not considered before. Maybe it is a new product or service that once would have seemed off the wall. Be open to new possibilities and flexible enough to quickly move in new directions.
5. Make decisions, not judgments — It is easy to get sucked into the idea that the economy is bad and you should be doing one thing or another in response to the latest news. Instead, make your decisions based on the information you can get from being open-minded and exploring, rather than jumping to judgment. For example, someone might present you with an idea for a deal that you feel inclined to reject. Instead, take a hard look at it and the conditions your company is facing. You might decide the idea is worth another look.
6. Don't be afraid to shake things up — Some people are so concerned about what is happening with the economy they don’t do anything. Instead, look for the opportunity to do things differently, maybe completely differently, from how they have been done in the past.
Is the recession over? Have we reached the bottom? Will the recovery be weak or strong, fast or slow? These questions don’t matter so much if you are doing all you can to create your own personal economy.
There are people and businesses making more money now than before the recession began. Be open-minded, and look for opportunities no matter what the economy is doing. Ultimately, the future of your business is in your hands.