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Small Business Digest


  
    February-2013
 
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Small Businesses Should Stay-The-Course in Hard-Times; Be Proactive

When times are tough, companies may be tempted to “eat whatever happens to float by” much like a barnacle that is attached to a pier or the bottom of the boat.

Steven Kleber calls this loss of focus the “barnacle concept.” 

He argues that during down economic times, it is easy for undisciplined companies to succumb passing opportunities not in their specialized area and thereby lose focus.

Kleber believes this comes from feeling helpless in regards to the company’s ability to garner, hunt and harvest nutritious food sources.

He advises that small businesses should resist this “fast food” temptation. Instead, it is vital in critical economic times to stick to the firm’s mission, maintaining its unique selling proposition, specialization and niche.

“Alternatively, when companies “eat whatever happens to float by,” soon they will be regarded by the marketplace as a generalist. And subject to being treated as a commodity with the downward pricing pressures that inevitably follows,” he says.

 When companies and brands stay their course and maintain their specialization and expertise, they will be able to add value with upward elasticity in fees that experts command.

Kleber has positive advice for small business leaders.

Tough economic times are the best time to go out and spread wisdom.

This is the time to participate at trade shows, seek speaking opportunities and pitch your company’s business case stories to relevant publications and venues.

“And perhaps the greatest opportunity during this economic climate is provided within social media. These innovative and transparent platforms allow companies to not only create a highly authentic voice -- but as importantly -- to do so at virtually no cost,” he adds.

Kleber goes on to say: “Never before has the confluence of events been more compelling than is being experienced in this difficult economy: the cost of distribution of communication is nearing zero while simultaneously the influence of a company’s voice is able to reach all-time highs”

Perhaps, counter intuitively, a tough economic cycle is exactly the best time for companies to “trade up”.

Meaning, it is the ideal time for companies to solicit larger pieces of business within their channel of influence.

As specialists, companies can position themselves as “value” opportunities against larger, less efficient competitors.

While smaller clients are having a hard time making ends meet in more difficult economies, they are cutting back on their vendor relationships.

Larger corporations on the other hand, may provide more robust outsourcing opportunities …allowing your firm to position itself as a cost-effective alternative to more expensive competitors.

Kleber also believes this is the most vital time for companies to re-double their recruiting efforts.

Competitors may be faltering while their best employees may be seeking more stable opportunities and growth potential. By utilizing job boards and forums such as LinkedIn, your firm can position itself to attract the best, brightest and most experienced.

“In fact, why not replicate the business model that major league sports franchise organizations employ in their recruiting for their farm and minor league teams, by soliciting the highest regarded college professors and industry influencers to refer superior talent to your own growing championship team?” He adds.


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