And if your hunch becomes reality, does your business have all it needs to survive – and perhaps thrive? There are three questions you should ask yourself when thinking about what you have versus what you want:
The first question is this: who does this help?
If something helps customers (especially the acquisition of more customers), that’s likely where your dollars should flow versus when it’s something that improves the quality of business and life for employees.
The second question, will this make us money?
Let’s say you run a business that accepts cash and credit/debit cards, but your customers are saying that if you accepted alternative funding like Venmo or PayPal, they’d be more inclined to do business with you. Naturally, it’s worth considering.
Hardest of all to answer is can we make do?
I’ve never met a company that doesn’t hate its current website design. Usually the second day after you launch a new website, you start to hate it. The layout is wrong, or you worry people can’t find what they need and so on. Almost always, your site is “good enough” to earn attention and guide people where they need to go.
And sometimes, thinking about making do requires creativity.
Resourceful People Thrive in Tough Times
It’s amazing what we think we need until we’re forced to consider operating without it. When I launched my business in 2009, I had an office in Massachusetts and an office in Maine to house my small team. We rolled along doing our work for a while before three important details dawned on me:
1. Rent costs a lot.
2. No customers ever came to our offices. We went to them.
3. Working at home is almost everyone’s preference.
I saved about $8,000 dollars a month almost instantly. Now, your business might not be something that can be run virtually. You might have to find another area to be resourceful and clever. But it’s out there.
Does your business really need a printer? Think about the money saved in ink and paper expenses monthly. Are you traveling to four or five conferences this year? Can you skip two?
Make Do In Marketing and Advertising with Technology
Marketing and advertising can cost a lot of money. Or it can be free. You might be inclined to think that paid efforts are better than free. Sometimes, that’s a very true fact. Other times, our free efforts land us more success than when we spend.
Is what you sell something visually appealing like food or clothes or even construction? Instagram is a great platform to earn some attention that can translate to business.
Have you used LinkedIn to publish interesting articles and videos? More and more people are slowly learning that LinkedIn isn’t that old site where you stick a digital copy of a resumé. It’s a thriving content hub where people go to learn and explore.
Recommended Reading: Top 5 LinkedIn Strategies to Grow Your Business
Do you have a YouTube channel? YouTube is the No. 2 search engine in the world (Google is No.1 and they own YouTube). Publish how-to videos and interviews with satisfied customers and behind-the-scenes videos and so much more. This costs nothing more than some time, getting a little better with your smartphone, and being brave.
Recommended Reading: Tips and Tricks for Fast, Easy Video Content
Don’t forget Facebook. In my small town, a very small local store throws events so often that you wonder whether they ever have a “regular” day without one. The events are free to post on Facebook, and with just a little bit of ingenuity around thinking up themes, they have a constant stream of people stopping by the store for the themed experience that matches their interest.
Spend a little time on Twitter search (search.twitter.com) and type in your locale and see what comes up. A restauranteur friend of mine used to “stalk” people coming to Milwaukee and then personally invite them into one of his four restaurants. It got him on ESPN, then another larger news story, and eventually brought him so much success he can hardly catch his breath. All from Twitter searches (and good food).
Constraints Are your Creative Best Friend
To stay on the theme of restaurants a moment longer, it turns out that most of the restaurants succeeding right now are those with smaller and more specific menus. Barring the typical Chinese Restaurant experience which has endless pages, most of the growing food chains in the U.S. sell just a few items and do it well.
By looking at your business the same way, you might find areas to consider cutting to focus on growing one aspect even more.
Constraints are great for being creative. If you must do more with less, it pushes you to consider methods and means that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.
Can you make do? Of course you can!
You’ve got a lot to offer your customers, and they look forward to seeing you ride out any potential recession and make it through to better times again.
About Chris Brogan
Chris Brogan is an author, keynote speaker and business advisor who helps companies update organizational interfaces to better support modern humans. The age of factory-sized interactions is over. We all come one to a pack. And it’s time to accept that we are all a little bit dented. Chris advises leadership teams to empower team members by sharing actionable insights on talent development. He also works with marketing and communications teams to more effectively reach people who want to be seen and understood before they buy what a company sells.
Bank of America, N.A. engages with Chris Brogan to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. The third parties within articles are used under license from Chris Brogan. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.
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