Is the political and economic stress affecting you and your business?

stressed womanLet's face it - it's the politics today, criminal activity in our neighbourhood tomorrow, a natural weather disaster the following week, the increased petrol price next month... there's always going to be something that's going to make people anxious and hesitant to invest or do business right then at that red hot minute. 

The truth of the matter is -  yes - as South Africans - we we do seem to be having a pretty difficult time right now - things are stressful and a little more than worrying.  Have we been through stress before?  Has it been worse?  Have we survived? 
The straight answer is - hell yes - we did!  Some even thrived!  Anxiety makes people hesitate before committing to a purchase or investment - especially big ticket items.  They look at their wallet share and carefully decide where to spend their money and how to allow for emergencies. 
As a business owner, entrepreneur or consultant - it's your job to make sure that you take your customer's situation into account when placing an offer on the table.  Make sure you understand the customer you hope to engage with.  What keeps them up at night.  What worries them.  What excites them.  What do they need.  What do they want.
How can you find this out?  You're just a 'small guy'.  You don't have budget for research.  You don't have time for this bs - you just need to survive the onslaught... you're just holding your head above water.  Stop!  Stop right there!  You can very quickly have a few conversations with your clients or customers.  Talk to them.  Find out what their situation is.  Ask them how you can help make things better for them.  Reach out to your customers.  You'll be surprised what will happen if you do.  In the eighties - my boss used to make us all spend a day in our client's stores.  We were a retail advertising agency and our leverage was knowing what our customers wanted and boy did we learn - those were my best days by far - walking the floor with the customers - you don't need any degree to be friendly and helpful.  Customers love that. 
Secondly - make sure that your current offer fits their needs, or their budget.  What can you do to still retain their business if their budget has reduced?  Include a budget offer in your services.  Yes - look at quality, yes look at your margins - but do look at an option that's equitable for both you and your client.  That way you're both kept happy.  Oh - look at a new product - smaller pack size, shorter time slot or different flavour that doesn't cost so much to produce.  It goes to saving your customer money and time and still giving you a bite at the cherry.  Next - have you saturated your community with support, with information - education is key in this world we live in - and customers love information and entertainment.  Are you a part of the local community - do you show up at local events, local charity drives or local launches?  Do it - you'll be surprised what happens... now you're not just in the community trying to take their money - now you are an integral part of the community - an active citizen to to speak.  My next blog will talk about how you should look at engagement in the community on line and off line.  But for right now - don't give up - when you think you want to give up - book an appointment with me...I am the never say die chick - I never give up...even in the face of absurd challenges...there's always a way. 

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