Thriving in the Wake of the Great Recession: The Challenges Ahead

Engagement Retention and GrowthAs the nation emerges from one of the longest recessions in recent history, businesses are finding themselves wading through unprecedented waters. The newly emerging economy is experiencing slower than usual growth, high unemployment rates, a struggling global economy, and strapped financial options to boost capital expenditures.

If history repeats itself….

As U.S. businesses move past the recession, a few will roar out of the recession gates while most others will fail, be split up, sold off, or taken over. If history repeats itself, certain business strategies applied during the recession will determine to a large degree a company’s fate. The Harvard Business Review (HBR) conducted a yearlong study and analyzed the strategy selection and performance of corporate America during the past three global recessions. With three recessions over the past 30 years to collect data from, the 1980 crisis (1980 to 1982), the 1990 slowdown (1990 to 1991), and the 2000 bust (2000 to 2002), HBR revealed some startling findings.

Painfully slow recoveries

They analyzed strategies of 4,700 public companies, breaking down the data into three periods: the three years before a recession, the three years after, and the recession years themselves. HBR consistently found that seventeen percent of the companies in the study didn’t survive a recession: They went bankrupt, were acquired, or became private. The survivors were slow to recover from the battering as well. As a matter of fact, about 80% of them had not yet regained their pre-recession growth rates for sales and profits three years after a recession ended.

So as businesses emerge from the latest recession that began in 2007, what significant challenges can we expect they will face? Based on the information gathered from previous recessions, many organizations used strategies such as deep cutbacks and massive layoffs with very little reinvestment back into the company. Now these businesses must contend with these ineffective strategy methods if they are to thrive. Here are some of the challenges businesses, large and small, now face that must be corrected in order to survive:

  1. Business Infidelity – Customers, employees, partners, and vendors can be fickle when it comes to loyalty if there is a lack of connection or commitment within the organization. When a stakeholder reaches this level of disconnect, a business is subjective to “Business Infidelity.” Literally, a business will lose clients, employees, partners, and vendors to the first competitor with the best marketing that reflects the needs of the consumer, collaborator, or investor.
  2. Social Media Soapbox – In this new social society, where customers, workforce, and prospective employees all have instant access to their own personal social media megaphone, companies are struggling to control their corporate image. They fear disgruntled employees whose public rantings are picked up by the press.  Business leaders are frustrated and confused by social media and tired of trying to contain and restrain employee engagement. Holding them back isn’t working. Yet how do you let them loose without sabotaging the efforts of marketing and PR?
  3. Communication Malfunctions – Along with judging, lack of trust, and lack of respect, communication failures are a leading cause of team malfunction.  Some teams never make it out of the storming phase, while others do not want to go through it at all and want to skip it.  A common frustration is a feeling of teams not performing to their potential
  4. Mismanaged Human Performance – It is staggering to read the research today on how much it costs a company when a top performer terminates their employment.  There are ranges from 1.5 times the employee’s salary up to $7,000 a day… for each day a top performer is missing.  Team leaders have mismanaged how to improve employee personal performance, team performance, and to how to identify people with greater performance potential.
  5. “Hiring to Fill” Quick Fix – As companies scramble to fill positions of employees that were laid and retained employees now handing in their resignation, they find themselves in the quandary of “filling vacant seats.”  Qualities, beliefs, ethical values, and behaviors have to be identified and quantified if the hiring process is to be successful. Leave any one area out of the equation and you have the potential for a ‘bad hire” which is a “costly hire.”
  6. Not Recognizing Every Employee is a Salesperson – There is a simple business formula:  No sales = No profits = No money = No business.  The ability to learn and then teach the art of handling objections can literally double or triple your profits within a year. Without this skill, you’ve lost the sale and relationship.  
  7. Can’t Regroup Fast Enough to Retain Valuable Employees – The first challenge is to capture the emotional commitment of the key leaders. The second is to engage the rest of the employees to champion change and communicating their efforts though inspiring stories. The problem with surviving a recession that has lasted five years or more depends on whether companies are able to regroup in time without losing talented employees and the lion share of their business to more agile and progressive competitors.
  8. Lack of strategies for Unexpected Changes -The best designed project matrices, timelines, vision statements, goals, and objectives can be left suspended or upended when leaders or employees experience personal changes or changes from the outside the company.  Unexpected changes are a part of life, and create less impact on a company when there are strategies in place to address these issues.

This is the first part of a three-part series blog on Thriving in the Wake of the Great Recession. Next week’s blog will move beyond the challenges faced after the recession to finding “A Way Through” with employee championed change and more. Join Debra, Dianne and other industry thought leaders for a break through Training Summit coming December 2012 that discusses challenges with actionable take-aways, for leaders, managers and employees to emerge from the recession stronger than before. At The Expert Marketing Coach and CoreValues we know there are terrific possibilities that await each business if they are to roar out of this recession.

20 Social Network Marketing Tips

Social media networks first emerged as means of communicating and interacting with people from all around the world. But now, companies have seen their potentials and are now utilizing them to promote their goods and services. If you want to utilize your Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts well, here are social network marketing tips which can help your company.

Facebook

  1. Immediately update your Facebook fan page once you have published your posts.
  2. Post content and links that will drive your fans to like and share your page or post.
  3. Include your Twitter account in your Fan page.
  4. Use the “Question” feature to create a survey about your company’s products and services. This creates interaction between your company and your fans.
  5. Include your Facebook fan page link on your online newsletters.
  6. Host a contest on Facebook, in order to draw more clients to your fan page.
  7. Create a landing page with a “reveal tab.” This page can feature a voucher, video or image which is unique and attractive to consumers.
  8. Respond to Facebook queries and comments right away!

Twitter

  1. Tweet ‘til kingdom come!
  2. Invite followers by campaigning your Twitter page in your Facebook page, website or blog site.
  3. Tweet about the posts of influential bloggers related to your niche or company.
  4. Make sure to re-tweet your content automatically with the help of programs such as Social Oomph professional.
  5. Share the tweets of famous people and acknowledge them by including their Twitter names in the status update.
  6. Use hash tags which include the Tweets in groups and lists, in order to draw more readers and possible customers.

YouTube

  1. Tape an interview of renowned personas in your niche and post them in your YouTube profile.
  2. Include your Facebook, Twitter, website and blog site link in your YouTube profile.
  3. Pen a headline that features keywords which are relevant in your category.
  4. Use a tempting and intriguing headline that will make viewers want to see your video.
  5. Make sure to type in tags for each video.
  6. Include a link back to your main site.

These are just some of the basics of social network marketing. For more advanced tips, contact us.

The Importance of Social Media Marketing (and 3 Marketing Tips)

Social media is the biggest thing to envelop our world in the last decade. Its impact on the modern society is astounding. Over 50% of the US population has a Facebook account. There's never been an easier time to reach out and talk with people. Therefore, as entrepreneurs, we really need to seek ways to integrate social media with our marketing efforts. Hence, social media marketing was born.

With social media’s great influence in our world, I can’t express highly enough how important leveraging social media is. It is a necessity for every business owners, entrepreneurs and marketing people. And with that in mind, here are three ways you can market social media.

1. Company Blog.

Every potential customer will need to know what your business is, and yes, a company website will (and should) do the trick. It will provide all the information customers need. In addition, you will want a blog. While the website conveys facts, the blog expresses opinion and personality.

Tip: it’s not just enough to put a single-paged information site about your company, you should update it. You need to educate your customers and provide them with useful information. Thus, having a blog with regularly posted helpful articles is an awesome marketing strategy.

Additional tip: please have a great domain name for your company blog such as one that incorporates your keywords. It has lots of advantages.

2. Facebook Business Fan Page

Facebook is the single biggest social networking site on the planet. With over a billion users, it’s just far too tempting for an entrepreneur not to leverage it. It’s an essential marketing tool for every entrepreneur.

If you are a solopreneur, executive or speaker/author, then get started networking with your personal profile.

If you have employees, products or a business that is not based on your expertise or direct relationship with your customer, you will need to build a business fan page for your company. This will be directly connected to your company blog.

How important is this: web users have notoriously short attention spans. People won’t always have time to go to your website and read your articles, but they can easily click “like” or “subscribe” your fan page — because for the most part — people check in with Facebook regularly.

Marketing strategy: Post a link to each of your blog articles on Facebook, so whether customers visit your blog or not, they will always see fresh, new, interesting articles on their Facebook page (linked to your blog).

Tip: Building a Facebook fan base will be challenging at first. You have to have people to “like” or “subscribe” your page. One way to do so is to put out incentives. Offer them a chance to gain free incentives for people who subscribes or likes your page. This will build your marketing base.

3. Twitter

Being the second largest social networking tool, it’s far too tempting not to leverage it. With over 500 million users, it’s an excellent tool to market your business.

Tip: You can reuse the content you post on your blog and on facebook and post it to twitter too! Inn addition, you will have to post unique content to Twitter.

In today’s world, it’s not enough anymore to have just one social networking media for your marketing affairs, you need to have more. Start with one and do a really good job with it and then add another. The more social media marketing tools you have, the more clients you will reach and the more successful your business will become.

Follow these three tips and your marketing ventures will surely take giant leaps. It is highly undeniable the impact social media has on our world today. Thus, every entrepreneur should leverage it.

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