Orange County, California, as well as the rest of the country are currently undergoing an "economic slowdown". The growth of our local economy was heavily depended on real estate and lending, especially over the last 5-6 years. The white hot real estate and lending industries of past years declined tremendously in 2007, and as we move half way through Q1 of 2008, no one can predict what our economic condition will be like at the end of the year (or there after). To many decision makers and business owners in the area, there are many things that you can do to recession-proof your business. Here are some of my recommendations:
1. Learn From Others: The latest Business Week article provides many great suggestions for all businesses. Some of the best ones are: cut travel & dining expenses, purge excess inventory, etc
2. Hold your pricing steady: It may be tempting to cut prices, but doing so may only temporarily boost your business. Know your value proposition and what you are worth. Otherwise, if you drop your prices too much, you will end up with less profit and much cost conscious customers when the economy bounce back.
3. Add alternatives or accessories to your existing services or products. For Web Advanced, we decided to develop our own e-commerce solution after not being able to find an off the shelf product on the marketplace. This saves us money, deployment, and provide a scalable software solution for our customers who are looking for a robust and easy to use e-commerce engine.
4. Live and work within your means. Don't overspend, and clean up your corporate and personal balance sheet. Glenn Beck wrote a good article on CNN today about the current economic situation. Link is available here.
5. Get out of your comfort zone. Go out and network, expand sales territories, and explore business opportunities in different industries. You always want to diversify your accounts and not depend more than 33% of your revenue on a single client. I know, its easier said than done, but if there is a time to start doing that, it is now.
6. Be creative and innovative. Start utilizing web technology to market yourselves. Check out this Youtube video about creating a startup. Not bad for 10K views/clicks.