This is an archived blog from when I ran Conscious Public Relations Inc. from 2008-2018. Excuse the potential outdated-ness!

Last night I went to my second CRAVE event and first Coffee Chat event. CRAVE is a company that publishes books on female entrepreneurs. They started with one in Vancouver and have expanded into 22 cities globally. The 3rd Vancouver edition will come out this November with yours truly.

The topic of the discussion was “Preparing Your Business for Tough Times” and was presented by Ghost CEO Advisor Felicia Lee, who I met just a few weeks ago. There was a special appearance by Ghost CEO’s CEO Chris Flett, who is an outstanding “tell it like it is” kind of guy. The only guy allowed at these kinds of events!

The event was held at Lut Boutique on Main Street, which I actually heard about from Chris Flett.

Felicia Lee is also the Director of the Enterprising Moms Network – a great resource for working moms. She wanted to present 10 no-cost tips on how to deal with tough times, instead of accepting the situation and blaming it on the “bad economy.” In under two hours, we discussed 8/10 of the tips, but if I get the additional info I’ll be sure to update this blog. It’s funny, because we discussed little about the economy and mostly on how to position our businesses. Lots of good startup and refresher juice!

1. Look at who you have in your pocket.

Felicia said there is 50% more business if you tap into the people you know. If you have current clients, see if they can buy more, or more often. You should always have a way to follow up with past, current, future clients, and different messaging for each of them.

2. Get clear on the problem that YOU solve.

It’s funny, because when we network, we always tell people “I’m a graphic designer” or “I’m a financial planner.” But that does nothing to differentiate ourselves from the others. We need to come up with 5-10 solutions that we each provide. And, the important thing is to provide BENEFITS (I get new customers who’ve never heard of you into your store) instead of features (I get you media coverage). Form a story when you tell people about your business, and always answer the questions as specifically as possible:

1. What do I do?
2. Why does what I do matter?
3. Who cares?

3. Look at markets you should be serving, and aren’t

Find out what the commonalities are between current clients, and see if related markets can be served. Tweak your tactics accordingly.

4. See what markets can be serviced by adjusting your model.

Can you break down a monthly fee into different services and fees? When you give a discount, make sure you are getting something back for it, instead of just giving away your money.

5. Become a lean, mean, selling machine.

We all hate the word sales. Or at least most people I meet do. But what we need to do is focus on fit and niche markets instead of blanketing to everyone we know. A sales funnel is extremely important so we know that even if business is good, we always need to have prospects who may be ready to buy, even in tough times. Chris said that it differs for everyone, but the average sales funnel is 20 prospects => 10 meetings => 5 clients per month.

6. Review your payables, and negotiate down.

There are ways we can spend less on marketing and fees if we look at what we’re currently spending on. lululemon has an Ambassador program that gives people product in exchange for marketing the company to their network, such as hosting events.

7. Bundle services with partners.

Kind of a given – but two businesses can benefit from double the business if you can find a complementary business that isn’t a competitor.

8. The market controls you, or you control the market.

Always remember that no matter what the economy is doing, it’s UP TO US to control our business situation.

I learned a lot in these two hours, so I cannot wait for the next CRAVE coffee chat – if you are a female entrepreneur, get on their list and attend the next one!


9. Remind your clients that you are a great alternative to your competitors

Who are your 5 main competitors? Which accounts/clients do they have that you want? In what way could you do a better job for these clients ? Price? Service? Support? A variety of offering?

10. Kill your clients with kindness

I love this one.

What 10 things can you do to show your clients appreciation?

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