Don’t wait for the Budget to Stimulate Growth

It’s a big week for the Chancellor, George Osbourne, next week.  It’s a big week for those of us waiting to see what ideas he comes up with in Thursday’s budget to put the nation’s finances to rights too. With the UK’s triple A credit rating now lost, a triple dip recession widely acknowledged and the latest figures for both manufacturing and construction showing further contraction of both sectors, the pressure is on Mr Osbourne to find new ways to stimulate business. It seems unlikely that the Government will abandon or even ease its austerity policies, and finding ways to grow while cutting back is an unenviable task.  After all, ‘speculate to accumulate’ is one of the basic tenets of commerce. However, hard times call for creative thinking and, for businesses aiming to achieve growth despite the harsh economic climate, a clear focus on tangible deliverables is key to success.

Just like Mr Osbourne, many businesses find themselves with less capital to play with than they would like, an ongoing issue with increased overheads and reduced revenue streams. There’s no doubt about it, market conditions are tough.  However, there are customers, projects and contracts out there – the challenge is identifying them, winning them and holding on to them.

Here’s our five point guide to stimulating growth in hard times:

  1. Target customers with growth potential and focus clearly on winning and keeping them: remember, an existing customer is much more valuable than a prospect so finding ways to up-sell or cross-sell to your current customer base could deliver greater rewards for less effort than courting new customers
  2. Differentiate: in a market where sales are difficult to come by standing out in the competitive landscape is essential if you’re going to maximize your piece of the available pie.
  3. Cut overheads carefully: If the caliber of your sales people is critical to your sales success make sure you hold on to talented, motivated people
  4. Be strategic, align all business functions, including marketing, to your strategic goals and ensure that all personnel are engaged in achieving them
  5. Leverage all relevant sales and marketing channels: if your customer base expects to transact online, upgrade your website; if you’ve won an impressive new contract make sure your market knows about it through PR, newsletters, social media etc

This time next week, the media will still be picking over the bones of the budget with their centre page spreads of winners and losers. In the business world, the winners are those who are realistic about the challenges they face and creative about overcoming them.