I recently attended a business seminar entitled “Strategies for Growth in a Recovering Economy”. It offered a variety of panelists. We had the CEO of a gardening center; a restaurant owner; a Director at the American Cancer Society and a salesman for Lexus.

Like the rest of us muddling through this economy, running their respective businesses and organizations has been riddled with challenges. Everyone has faced their ups and downs, but how did the panelists survive and thrive? The answers were relatively universal. Of course, no two businesses are alike, but there are many tactics all businesses can take to keep the wheels spinning during a difficult economy:

  1. Analyze. Who is your competition? What are the market trends? What can you do to differentiate and capitalize?
  2. Re-invent yourself. Madonna is the poster girl for reinvention, and that’s what has kept her interesting and relevant. What are you doing to keep your business interesting and relevant?
  3. Look at your strengths and weaknesses. Capitalize on the strengths; get rid of the weaknesses
  4. Enhance or expand your offerings. Diversify.
  5. Re-invest in yourself. Do you need a new store front or web site? Have you considered Facebook promotions or LinkedIn advertisements? What about joining trade organizations? Or, becoming a sponsor of a high profile charity? It’s difficult to think about spending money when you’re having to make cut-backs, but sometimes you have to spend money to make money.
  6. How’s your customer service? Customer retention is as vitally important as customer acquisition. As the restaurant owner on the panel so astutely pointed out: “the most expensive thing in business is an empty seat.”

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