I covered the first three rules (Take the Long View, Come Up with Unsafe Options and Think Before You Act in Seven Rules for Keeping Your Business Going, Part 1. Here I continue with the last four rules.
4) Create an Opportunity Path – I love opportunity paths. Opportunity paths are like strategic business plans made flesh. Your business is suffering, so is everyone else’s. Opportunity paths allow you to do more with less because they map out where partnerships lie, where client businesses gather, what they read, how they act and what you can do.
For example, you specialize in incentive packages. Your market is normally banks, airlines, financial institutions. Times have changed. Partner with a company that sells any product to specialized markets (distribution networks fit this scenario best). Present them with a buyer incentive plan. Do their clients normally spend X? Create an incentive plan where there’s a reward for buying X + 2, X + 4, 2X, … . Now go out on some sales calls with them to introduce your service and products to their clients. Find out what shows and conferences your partner company goes to and go with them.
Voila, an opportunity path makes itself known.
5) Opportunity Paths + Unsafe Options = New Possibilities – You’re meeting new prospects due to your opportunity paths. Can you modify your unsafe options so that they solve problems these new prospects are having? Congratulations! You’ve discovered new possibilities for your existing products and services.
6) Look for Problems – This builds directly on what has come before. Problems need solutions. Solutions may already exist and perhaps you can come up with a faster, cheaper, better solution.
Problems are opportunities. Solve someone’s problem and you’ve made a friend. This is also where unsafe solutions can really make themselves known. As Henry Ford said, “If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse.” Being unsafe at this point can create possibilities that take hold and drive you forward in all possible economies.
7) When Times Are Tough, Experts Come Cheap – I know a fellow who charged US$10k/day for his time. Now he charges a few hundred dollars an hour. That might still be out of your ballpark but quoting them, referencing them and learning from them isn’t.
You can gain points by referencing and quoting known experts when you do presentations, make sales calls and so on. Suddenly it’s not just your idea, it’s their idea and you’ve made some improvements. You’ve studied what they suggest, you’ve learned from them and know how to adjust the Master’s Teaching for the prospect or audience sitting in front of you.
And you charge a lot less than US$10k/day for your time.
So in summary, you can keep your business going in tough times by
- Taking the Long View
- Coming Up with Unsafe Options
- Thinking Before You Act
- Creating an Opportunity Path
- Remember that Opportunity Paths + Unsafe Options = New Possibilities
- Look for Problems to solve
- Market yourself as the less expensive expert
Go get ’em.
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