What does the current state of the economy mean for operators? How can you navigate this recession as a service provider?
It’s July 2022, and the economy has shifted. We’re in a recession for the first time in more than a decade.
For many of you, this may be the first time traversing through a time like this. Regardless, I bet the majority of us weren’t business owners during the past recession.
In today’s podcast I’m going to share my personal thoughts and give you pointed advice and actions that are best suited for you as a service provider.
We have a free quiz that will help you figure out what type of business model that will be best for you.
During the early pandemic, we saw a significant rise in small business development.
“People vacated large, corporate roles and turned towards small business ventures that fulfilled their passions, experience and skills.”
Some started businesses while others leveraged their skills and sold those to small businesses. This allowed them to stay in the workforce and satiate the craving of flexibility. Lots of small businesses emerged and used digital marketing means to gain traction and widen their audience. We also saw lots of people create businesses leveraging their expertise.
I believe these businesses will have greater success than those in brick and mortar industries, hospitality, travel, and those with physical products. Most of these companies are educational, and historically that’s exactly what increases during economic downturns.
“Regardless of the industry, age of business, or staff size, every leader will be hyper-focused on a lean business… and you should be too.”
1. Marketing and Advertising
One of the first costs to go is marketing and advertising. We’re seeing a shift to organic marketing, and I believe that will continue to rise. Cutting costs and knowing that we don’t have an obvious solution to the unexpected marketing mess will contribute to less spend in marketing efforts.
Instead, these businesses will be focused on operations. If you’re an operator, cutting costs, finding excess, and creating efficiencies are your sweet spot. Marketing spend will decrease, and companies will continue to invest in operations.
2. Product Optimization
There will be less of a focus on creating new products. It costs a lot to innovate, and businesses are going to look at their data and go all in on the product that has performed best and optimize it. They’re also going to simplify their offer stack. Complex offerings will go away out of necessity, and marketing will need to be dialed in. Delivery and fulfillment are key, and this is the good news for you as an operator.
“Because your mind is naturally process driven, there is going to be lots of opportunity for an operator to shine.”
3. Businesses Investing in Teams
Businesses will be investing their limited budgets in solid, trustworthy team members. Transiency and complacency won’t be tolerated, and avoiding turnover will be a priority. If you are servant hearted, you’ll be a tremendous asset in this upcoming landscape. I foresee employers seeking a greater time commitment from service providers and looking for people to be more focused on their business.
“All signs point to operators riding through the beginning of the recession with a little greater ease than other professions.”
However, don’t become complacent. Business owners are going to be picky with their labor, conservative with their cash, and focused on outcomes. This is the time to shine if you bestow the Director of Operations (DOO) title, or serve in any operations capacity.
Action Steps for a Recession
Here are some action steps to help you quickly adapt to the economic changes as an operator:
1.Review Your Offers
Get absolutely crystal clear on the outcomes for your offer. Three things that are key are outcomes, process, and the deliverable.
- If they partner with you, what will happen as a result?
- What is your process? Be ready to talk about it and consider making it visual, but don’t overcomplicate it.
- Spell out what the deliverables are. Tell the client what they receive or walk away with.
“Remember businesses are going to be lean; they will only invest in right-fit solutions, so you want to make it clear to them.”
2. Minimize your offers and services
Don’t make it cumbersome to figure out what you do. Serve up what you’re excellent at. Compute what the ROI of your service or offer is, and prove why they need this. Create a solid value proposition, and consider case studies where you feature clients who have utilized your services and their results.
“Make it an undeniable service, even in a recession.”
3. Serve Your Clients Well
If you have clients, focus on serving them well. You must provide them weekly reports that summarize your actions, the results, and all performance related data. This makes you an irrefutable asset, and I promise you no one else is doing this. Make sure the report showcases efficiencies, productivity, optimization, systems, processes, and margins, because these are what matters to the leader right now.
4. Don’t Touch your Prices
I don’t believe that’s necessary at this time. You can start considering performance based pricing: set a goal and if you exceed it, you receive additional compensation. I predict this will be attractive in this market, but advise that it be leveraged for experienced operators and service providers who have a history of performing a service.
5. Reach out to Previous Clients
If you experience a downturn in work, reach out to previous happy clients immediately via email. You already know them and their business, so you have an idea of what they need and how you could be an asset. Present them a customized offer and tell them why they need you now. The advantage is that you know what they need and you can take the guesswork out by spending a little extra time showing them how you can solve their problems. The beauty for you is that this requires no marketing, and they already know the quality of your work.
6. Take Advantage of Dedicated Employment Opportunities
There are still lots of hiring opportunities for operators at this time, but make sure it’s a values match. Lots of women in our community are looking for stability, more predictable income, and they are burned out from the marketing side of running a business. The beauty is that these opportunities are likely remote and flexible. We are seeing more employment opportunities than we have in the past 7 years, and it could be the relief you need right now.
This is new territory for most of us, but at this time, I’m optimistic about the necessity of operations in both small and large businesses. History tells us that recessions end. We don’t know when or how long this will last, but adapting will serve you better than ignoring it. Serve your clients and be good to yourself along the way.
Weekly Ops Activity
Let’s practice sharing the outcomes attached to your offer. What will your client get/feel when they work with you? Head over to The Facebook group and share.
“We need practice, and we also need to be succinct and clear when sharing… let’s start today.”
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