The following is adapted from Rock the Recession: How Successful Leaders Prepare for, Thrive During, and Create Wealth After Downturns.
The highest-performing companies don’t fear recessions—they look forward to them.
The idea sounds counterintuitive, we know. What possible reason would a business leader have to want an economic downturn?
The answer is simple. A recession, properly planned for, can present opportunities for growth that would otherwise take a decade or more to pan out, like mass purchasing expensive assets for cheap, acquiring other companies, and convincing top-shelf talent to join your team.
By following the four steps outlined below, you can plan ahead and set your company up to not only survive the next recession, but use it to fuel your growth.
Rather than struggling to beat the competition and exploit existing demand during a recession, the more strategic route is to create uncontested market space (read the book Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne for more on this topic). Doing so, of course, is easier said than done and requires creativity and drive, but if you can successfully pivot to a new market, the payoff of a less-crowded space will be worth it.
Research shows that “companies that successfully adapt can emerge stronger than ever,” while those that do not “face a Darwinist reality” (Journal of Business Research). Why fight the competition when you can make them irrelevant?
The best way to create uncontested market space is to adopt new technology and use it to differentiate your service from your competitors’ before they get the chance to do the same. Find a way to solve a problem for your customers that no one else has solved. Embrace technology as a way to both create a better user experience on your clients’ end and to save labor on yours.
You’ll be able to integrate new tech into your company with fewer hiccups if you follow the next step and look ahead to your end goal.
Look at your business goals from a strategic perspective by beginning with the end in mind. In other words, look ahead to what would happen in an exit situation.
Consider, for example, how an acquirer might pay seven to eight times earnings for an annuity service business, but they would only pay book value, or at most two to three times earnings, for a one-off project business. Use these predictions to plan how you want to diversify or grow your business to maximize its value.
Growing your company in a good economy will make you more likely to survive a recession because, in general, bigger companies tend to fare better. By looking ahead, you’ll know where to invest your money and efforts to reach the goals you have in mind.
This step naturally ties into the next, which involves bridging the gap between your beginning and end states.
Once you have an end goal in mind, you need a plan to bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to go.
For example, if you aim to go from $25 million to $100 million in revenue, and want to enter different markets, but don’t have the in-house talent to do it, then what you have is a “talent gap.” One way to close that gap could be through acquisitions.
Similarly, if you want to adopt continuous improvement practices within your company but don’t have anyone on your team who is an expert—that would also be a talent gap. Hire a “lean” expert.
Identify your gaps and come up with a timely, actionable plan to fill them.
You have your market, your goal, and your plan. Now you just need to seize the opportunity created by a recession and acquire assets while the price is low.
As a general rule, everything is cheaper in a recession. Talent is cheaper. So is the competitor you want to acquire. And when banks are looking to dump assets that they’ve already written off—assets they just want to get off their books—that’s when you can score some of the best deals.
By planning out what you want to acquire—and maintaining enough liquidity to buy it—you can strike as soon as the recession hits, giving you first pick of assets while your competitors scramble to find the capital.
Hopefully, being armed with this four-step plan will turn your recession fears into anticipation. Start creating market space, setting goals, laying out actions to make them happen, and writing your to-buy list, and you’ll be well positioned to experience enormous growth when the recession finally hits.
For more advice on recession planning, you can find Rock the Recession on Amazon.
Jonathan Slain and Paul Belair founded Recession.com to give entrepreneurs a free tool to assess their recession readiness at Recession.com/Ready.
Jonathan Slain spent the Great Recession huddled in the fetal position on the floor of his office. He borrowed $250,000 from his mother-in-law to survive. Jonathan paid his mother-in-law back and is now a highly sought-after consultant (and, yes, he’s still married!). Jonathan leverages his experience in investment banking and as an entrepreneur on the keynote speaking circuit because he doesn’t want anyone else to have to borrow money from their mother-in-law in the next recession.
Paul Belair wasn’t scared when the Great Recession hit. He invested $1 million to purchase a business and just five years later sold it for over $70 million dollars. He achieved an American dream exit by using the Recession Gearbox model outlined in this book to create an intentional recession preparation plan. Paul is a CPA and an MBA, and currently serves as chair of the Young Presidents’ Organization Construction Industry Network.
Sports history is filled with the heroics of substitute players coming off the bench and playing a big role in a victory.
Likewise, in the working world, being a dedicated and consistent role player can prepare someone for a promotion that entails bigger responsibilities. The key, as in sports, is being ready when called upon.
“Understanding and fulfilling your role as you await your opportunity is a critical aspect of truly growing so you are prepared to make good on that opportunity when it happens,” says Grant Parr (www.gameperformance.com), a mental sports performance coach and the author of The Next One Up Mindset: How To Prepare For The Unknown.
“Athletics is filled with role players ready to meet the demands and the game speed of competition. The mental preparation is equally important in the workplace for those aspiring to climb the ladder and be continually successful.”
Parr offers five ways to spend time wisely while waiting in the wings and how to be well-prepared for the next, bigger opportunity:
Maximize your role. The path to promotion, Parr says, starts with the right mindset in lower positions. “Training the mind for success is essential,” Parr says. “It begins with fully understanding and embracing your role. Doing that consistently gets you ready for the next one. Your role will be what you make of it — a launchpad for future success and a support to others while you learn, or a holding pattern leading toward stagnation and frozen development.”
Set achievable goals and commit. “How you approach your goals matters,” Parr says. “You need to write them down, including all the tasks required to accomplish them, and you need to visualize the feeling of reaching them.”
Remove negatives. “These invariably come up,” Parr says. “Be aware of the obstacles, people, and thought processes that can derail you, demotivate and distract you from making the most of your opportunity. That way, when those things appear, you are prepared to manage them and stay on track.”
Lead and set an example. “In sports, always being one of the first to practice and among the last to leave, and being the one who always encourages others — all those qualities stick in your teammates’ minds as a disciplined, winning example they can count on,” Parr says. “In the business world, your chances of reaching the next level are greatly enhanced when you exemplify a team-first, cheerful attitude on a daily basis, always being helpful to the levels above you as well as your own team, and going the extra mile.”
Study good examples/role models. It certainly helps in sports, and the corporate office is no different, Parr says, when it comes to the benefits of learning from mentors or reading up on achievers who had humble beginnings. “Watch, listen to, read, and learn from the advice and experiences of those who have excelled,” Parr says.
“Moving up in the world entails lots of things that can knock you down,” Parr says. “Embracing your role, whatever it is, means embracing the struggle to get where you want to go. You are working toward something higher, preparing for the unknown, and it requires diligence and commitment.”
Grant Parr (www.gameperformance.com) is a mental sports performance coach and the author of The Next One Up Mindset: How To Prepare For The Unknown. Parr owns and runs GAMEFACE PERFORMANCE, a consulting firm that enhances mental skills for athletes and coaches. A recruiter and sales leader in the corporate world for 17 years, he now works with a wide variety of athletes including Olympians, professionals, collegians and high school athletes. His podcast, 90% Mental, provides a window into a broad range of athletes’ and coaches’ mental games and shares their insights around mental performance.
Marketing is crucial for your business to succeed. Whether you are an online retail shop owner or a first-time entrepreneur, you probably already know the importance of smart and effective advertising.
In order to kick-start your business and support it as it grows, you should have a detailed marketing plan. This article will look into six advanced digital marketing strategies you should try in your campaign.
1. Guest Posts
Guest blogging is often being overlooked by the majority of entrepreneurs and even marketers themselves. The primary purpose of guests posts is link building, and perhaps they are the best tool for it.
Guest posts are essential for growing your business, and here’s why:
They help build relationships: If you are an expert in your field, you will easily be able to establish a connection with your audience and with the bloggers you collaborate with. Being professional about what you do and displaying an insightful look at the industry can help inspire loyalty and trust in your customers.
They are good for SEO: When you leave a link to your website on the guest post you write on an authoritative blog, you will not only receive more traffic through those links, but your website will rank higher in web searches. Google sees backlinks from different places that lead to your site and this makes the search engine prioritizes your website over others.
They are relatively cheap: Compared to other marketing techniques, guest blogging is fairly cheap. The thing to keep in mind though is that you must mainly focus on the quality of content instead of trying to sell your products. If your article has no value, then what use is it?
They provide new leads and opportunities: As mentioned before, being an expert in your field can potentially lead to new customers. If people like your content, they will want to find out more about your business and eventually become your clients.
The logic behind this strategy is fairly simple: the more accessible you make your content, the more people you will reach. By translating your website into different languages, you will be able to appeal to the foreign audiences, which will lead to your business going global.
If you are not good with languages and don’t know anyone who can translate your content, you can always turn to online translation services which have become very popular in recent years. Such sites as The Word Point offer translations to dozens of languages for a decent price and in a small amount of time.
For this marketing strategy to be effective, you should consider translating to at least two or three languages other than English. If you are based in North America, a good idea would be to spread into South America. This means that you will have to localize your content for the respective countries, whose main languages are Spanish and Portuguese or variations of these.
Likewise, if you are based in Europe, you can target the biggest potential markets that you are missing out on at the moment. Don’t try to hurry though, and start off with several languages first. You can increase that number once you have established yourself in your target countries.
3. Skyscraper Technique
When using the Skyscraper Technique, you will be able to develop many aspects of your business marketing. The technique itself is pretty simple:
Find Trending Content: The first thing you do is find the content in your niche that is currently trending. Sometimes such topics can die out as fast as they sprang up, so be sure to act fast.
Compile A List Of Distributors: Now make a list of websites or blogs where you will be posting your future content. Your articles might be guest posts, so you have to find out if the sites permit backlinks beforehand.
Create Better Content: Go through the content you found and make it better. Develop certain points or include additional analysis. Maybe the content lacks facts or statistics. If the language is too complicated, simplify it so that more people can understand it. Your goal is to create an article that is better than what you found. Because you are using a trending topic, you will most definitely succeed in finding an audience for your work.
Post It & Receive Feedback: Once you post the content on the sites you chose, keep interacting with your readers. Show that you are willing to stay up-to-date on the topic and are a professional in your industry. The backlinks should increase your traffic too.
4. Smart Emails
You are probably thinking about how useless and ineffective email marketing is nowadays. But this is actually not the case if you know how to do it properly.
A good email will possess all the qualities of a good ad. To make your emails more appealing, think about these features:
Along with the things listed above, try targeting specific people instead of the general public. Look for certain users on the Internet and aim your emails at them. One way to make email marketing easier is to use such a tool as MailChimp or analogs. It makes sending these messages faster and more efficient.
5. Moving Man Method
This is a fairly new tricky technique that was coined by Brian Dean. The system goes like this:
Quite a witty technique that is gaining popularity right now, the Moving Man Method is an easy way to create quality content and get backlinks to your site.
Last but not least, advertorials are the way to go because of their unique nature. Unlike traditional advertisement, advertorials serve the purpose of connecting with your audience rather than plainly selling your product.
There is a great article on How To Write An Advertorial that you can check out to get acquainted with what an advertorial is. Here’s a rundown of how to make your advertorial more appealing:
To sum up, these are definitely not the only advanced digital marketing strategies that will aid you during your advertising. But they are most obviously worth a try and may be of great use when implemented right. Don’t pass by and take note!
Forget those jokes about Baby Boomers and their supposed struggles grasping today’s technology.
They may have grown up in a black-and-white TV, rotary-phone era, but most Baby Boomers long ago adapted to the 21st-century digital world. And that includes social media, which they took to with almost as much delight as their children and grandchildren if recent studies on the subject are any indication.
As a result, any business or professional who wants to market to Baby Boomers needs to understand that reaching them through social media channels should be part of the strategy, says Jonathan Musgrave, owner and chief digital marketer for Steep Digital Marketing (www.steepdigital.com).
“I always tell people that educationally based messages are the key to getting traction when it comes to reaching and influencing people on social media,” Musgrave says. “While plenty of goods are sold on Facebook, for example, that’s not primarily why Baby Boomers, or anyone else, logs in each day.
“Instead, the reason they are addicted to social media is to see what’s new. What’s new with their friends, kids and grandkids? What’s new in the news? The best way to reach them and market to them is to position yourself as an educator; someone who is telling them what’s new.”
If that still sounds more like a way to reach younger generations rather than BabyBoomers, consider this: A study by Google revealed that Boomers and seniors spend more time online than they do watching TV. Also, 82.3 percent of Boomers who use the internet have at least one social media account, with Facebook being their favorite.
Musgrave says his company uses several approaches when creating effective Facebook ads, but many of these elements also can work for routine social media posts on a business or professional site as well. They include:
–Images. It’s important to have compelling images to catch a social media user’s attention while they’re scrolling through their newsfeed and makes them stop to take a second look. “We use colors and font combinations that grab your attention immediately,” Musgrave says.
–Captivating headlines. Headlines are the gateway to getting people to read the rest of your copy. “Shorter headlines are easier to read and get straight to the point,” Musgrave says. “We want things to be as easy as possible for people to understand what we are offering in their area.”
–Engaging copy. Once the headline draws them in, you need to deliver with an engaging message. Musgrave suggests one way to do this is with questions. “Asking questions of your audience creates a desire for an answer to those questions,” he says. “This creates an open loop that makes the brain grab on tight. It acts like a ‘pop quiz’ and keeps the audience glued.” It’s also important to avoid buzzwords, he says. “You want your copy to be easily readable, and buzzwords usually do the opposite of that,” Musgrave says. “People do business with people who make things easier for them.”
“Facebook is the primary way Baby Boomers interact with content online, although you can find them on other social media platforms as well, such as Twitter and LinkedIn,” Musgrave says. “It’s critical that anyone who wants to do business with Baby Boomers understand that if you’re looking to reach them, social media is a good place to make the connection.”
About Jonathan Musgrave
Jonathan Musgrave is the owner and chief digital marketer of Steep Digital Marketing (www.steepdigital.com), which he founded in 2017. Musgrave leverages his 13+ years of experience in the financial services world to help financial professionals reach more than 8,000,000 prospects each month with social media advertising. Steep Digital Marketing has rapidly grown and was recently recognized as one of the top 100 Colorado Companies to Watch.