Have you planned your recession strategy yet? Do you know how to keep clients and get new ones? What do your services look like to your ideal clients right now? Planning for the next 18 months will be critical for your firm.
On 12 August 2020, the UK officially entered a recession. That’s commonly expected, but the main problem remains that few prepared for this turn of event.
You may already be dealing with some frustrations because of this. It’s understandable as a recession implies a scarier time to do business. At least for the next 18 months, there are many uncertainties ahead.
And it’s not only about your business. Maybe you have a plan to maintain or even thrive. But since there’s a recession going on, you have to also think about your clients.
Even if you have no problems showing your clients that your firm offers VITAL accounting services, what if your clients go out of business?
What if it happens regardless of how much value you can provide? A recession affects just about all companies and some of your clients may be particularly hard hit.
To survive and thrive over the next 18 months, you will have to come up with a better plan. That plan may have to include figuring out a way to replace some of your clients and how to get new business.
Fortunately, there are two things that can help you to do this and minimise the damage.
The Two Things You Have to Focus On
With these two changes to your business model, you can plan for a recession. You can make changes that positively affect your business and your relationship with clients.
1. Improve Your Offering
I often say that it’s essential to position your firm as VITAL. It’s essential to provide unique signature solutions to your clients’ most challenging problems. That is, of course, if you want to differentiate your firm from the competition.
However, a recession forces you to look at things from a different perspective, i.e. you also have to look at the pricing strategy. For your next 18 months, you may also want to focus on improving your offering.
No one says that you have to slash prices and try to be the cheapest accounting firm around. Yet, an adjustment to your prices during this time can actually help you grow your business.
Businesses will still need compliance work, recession or not. It’s just that this is easy enough for most accounting firms to perform. To get new clients and to prevent yours from jumping ship, reducing prices makes sense.
People have to watch their money now more than ever. It’s all about saving as much as possible. So it’s understandable that you may have to issue lower quotes. At least for some of your easier-to-perform services.
But what if you don’t want to take on cheaper tasks? Maybe you’d rather keep prices above the market average because of the good work that your firm does.
If that’s the case, there’s another thing that you can do.
You can also improve your offering if you position your firm as VITAL to your clients. You may have to come up with service packages that are essential to your clients’ survival.
So, to recap, there are two ways to improve your offering. One involves cutting certain prices and the other refining your services or adding new services that provide more value.
Now comes the hard part. Deciding which route is better for you.
I’d recommend that you stick to positioning your firm in the market as VITAL. If you have unparalleled solutions for unique problems, you have room to articulate your pricing. It can convey that no matter how hard things get, your clients still need you.
In doing this, you can also continue to take on more complex tasks and avoid having to dump your resources in compliance work. Furthermore, this is almost certain to help you post-recession. Remaining a strong and trusted firm during hard times will solidify your reputation.
You may have an easier time landing clients once business picks up for everyone.
2. Build Your Opportunities
Here’s another thing that you should focus on as soon as possible – building opportunities. In a recession, you may need as many opportunities as possible to survive, let alone thrive.
What I mean by opportunities is the chances to get in front of prospective clients. You want to show and share that your firm offers VITAL accounting services.
The more communication you have, the more chances you get to convert prospects into clients.
Client acquisition can be the most crucial area of focus during a recession. Becoming recession-proof means having a steady influx of work from your clients.
Assuming that some of them may go out of business, getting new ones is a priority.
Here’s why I want you to prioritise client acquisition. I come across many firms that obsess over building systems and processes. But I don’t see the point in having those first if you don’t have high-value clients.
I also prefer to focus on advisory services. While it’s true that compliance work is necessary, true, it doesn’t offer anything transformational to your clients. It will not help them shape their businesses into something better.
As such, instead of focusing on those systems and processes for compliance work, you may have to try something different.
Try putting more emphasis on weekly lead generation and figure out new ways to attract high-value clients. Think about repositioning your firm in the marketplace.
A recession could signal the perfect opportunity to move the needle for your firm. It’s a time when you can separate your firm from the pack. Prospective clients will look at your firm as a beacon for survival as a result.
Also remember that speaking to a bigger audience is better. It’s harder now to convert prospects into clients, which is understandable since many will have changed their priorities.
That’s the primary reason why you need a bigger pool of prospects to tap into. Allow your marketing team to shine during these darker economic times.
When Do You Need to Do This?
What would you say if I told you that the best time to plan for this recession was two years ago? It probably puts things in perspective a bit.
But I’m not talking today about the ideal time to make these changes. I’m talking about when you should start doing things if you didn’t prepare. And that time is now.
The recession is already here. It’s official and there’s no going back. In my opinion, you don’t have an extra six months to think things over. You no longer have the luxury of waiting to see how things will unfold on their own. You don’t have time to see if your existing strategy is good enough either.
I’d say, better safe than sorry.
You now know the two things that you have to do. You need to improve your offering and to seek out as many new opportunities as possible and as quickly as possible.
It’s all about future-proofing your firm and helping your clients in the process.
Chances are that your firm won’t thrive during the recession. But there’s no reason that you can’t at least have stability and a great foundation to build on once the economy picks up.
If you stay behind the curve, you may have to accept that you’ll struggle. No one can predict how much or if you could recover.
Thus, doing everything possible right now can set you up for a successful future. If you achieve stability now or manage to thrive, image what will happen 19 months down the road. You could stand to propel your business to success like never before.
But first things first, it’s essential to adopt a proactive mindset. It’s essential to want to take action and avoid waiting for things to play out. Now is not the best time to sit in your comfort zone.
Take Action and Make the Right Positive Changes
Even though it doesn’t take much to turn things around, it’s not an easy journey. There are things right now that deserve your attention more than ever. Your offering and your way of building opportunities may need adjusting.
A bigger audience always gives you more chances to position your firm as VITAL. But it’s even more critical in a recession when you must try to reach more people, and make that the high-value prospects.
It’s also crucial to offer the best services you can and provide something that your competitors can’t. The playing field right now is fierce and arguably cutthroat. You want to at least achieve stability during a time of economic turmoil. Achieving stability now prepares you for exciting growth after the recession is over.
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