>Two (or Three) Heads are Better than One in this Economy

1 07 2009

>Gotta love a nice, long and protracted recession. Not only are even more people out of work due to downsizing and closing businesses, but these same people may actually have excellent skills, be located in your market or offer services similar to yours.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics “Unemployment rates were higher in May than a year earlier in all 372 metropolitan areas. Of the 310 metropolitan areas for which non-farm payroll employment data were available, 295 reported over-the-year employment decreases and 15 reported increases. ” The slide is estimated to continue to first quarter 2010 by many experts.

At networking events over cocktails, in the corner Starbucks and in line at the grocery store, I’ve met numerable ex-employees turned-business-owners in the last year or so, and have come to a conclusion.

In order to not only survive this recession, small business-owners have to be willing to not only branch out of their safety zone, they have to be willing to seek out other businesses that may be struggling to stay afloat. Maybe they offer products or services that are complimentary to their own businesses. Consumers are more frugal than ever, on the web and in stores, so the more comprehensive your offerings, in my humble opinion, the better chance you have of drawing the customers to your site, online or off.

Not that every company needs to be a “one-stop-shop” (I actually hate that phrase, makes me think of massive and cluttered discount stores.) If you are a copywriter and you’re just about keeping ahead of the curve, possibly finding a small PR firm or marketing agency that needs assistance keeping up with their writing work flow could be a good business marriage. Work in web marketing? Talk to the local web companies in your area and see if they offer the same services as you, or if they’re having trouble managing work with a reduced staff.

Many companies have downsized their regular staff to maintain their business, and the cost of a freelance or contract worker does not require companies to pay the overhead costs like health insurance or taxes. Removing these costs from the board gives companies the leverage they would need to add off site workers to their staff to get the job done.

The lesson is: Look around and think how you could be of service to your fellow small-business-owner-in-need. Once this storm blows over and we get a bit of the blue sky back in the economy again, you may have built some lasting relationships that will not only improve your business in the short-term, but provide you the leverage to enter the next storm with a larger umbrella.




One response

2 07 2009

>A friendly post in tough times. I hate to be a downer, but…let's not forget that all business relationships are built on value exchange. I had a client who was dithering over price. So I wrote a home page for him. We agreed that if he liked it, we would continue the project. The next day he was enthusiastic and wholehearted in his praise of my work. He said he'd be using my services and would be in touch to iron out an agreement,I was pleased and he was pleased. And that's where the relationship ended.I've emailed him several times to see where the project is and heard exactly nothing. Nada. Zip. Be creative in looking for work by all means. But be careful too. There's just a certain percentage of problem clients out there. Laura

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