The Recession’s Silver Lining

business plan 2

We’d all like this recession to be over sooner rather than later, but there’s the potential to grow your business by really taking a look at just how and “where” the recession is having an impact.

First you’re likely already aware that unemployment or the threat of unemployment was a huge motivating factor in the start-up and growth of many small businesses.  There’s something about people around you losing their jobs and homes…you don’t want it to happen to you, so you take action.

For the last couple of years there has been a steady stream of media reports from economic experts and business columnists pointing to small business owners as the new engines of our economy. Now think about how it is that they are driving this economy.

For one, small businesses are hiring! They are getting contracts from the very companies that released so many good people. Remember as companies downsize they aren’t necessarily closing; they still need to serve customers.

So, what we’re seeing are more and more skilled people (the newly unemployed) becoming independent contractors and increasingly more companies outsourcing their work to these very skilled individuals.

There is a lot of need out there within all these downsized corporations and organizations and all that “need” can translate into increased income for your business. First, however, you’ve got to recognize where there is opportunity, both within your own physical community and the borderless reaches of the Internet.

Some Ideas for Your Client Base

Identifying your target market is such an important exercise. There are of course numerous books and articles about doing the research and identifying a target market that will purchase what you’re selling. Sometimes, however, I think we overlook some not so obvious prospects.

Following are two potential sectors you might want to explore.

Associations: There are thousands of professional and trade associations worldwide. Examples include the American Medical Association, National Home Builders Association, and numerous state/province and city based associations around the country.

When a particular sector is hard hit by a downturn in the economy, membership in trade and professional associations can be one of the expenses considered expendable, if even for a short period of time.

When associations experience severe membership decline they too have to look at cutting costs. Sometimes this requires downsizing staff. Here now is an opportunity for an enterprising solopreneur or independent contractor.

Associations thrive on a variety of skills and services. From accounting to marketing to event planning – associations depend upon people who can provide these kinds of services. If you’ve got skills in these areas (and others) think about adding associations to your list of prospective clients.

Universities and Colleges: During bouts of major unemployment, colleges and universities often see a boost in enrolment as the unemployed seek retraining with the money they’ve received from severance packages and government benefits.

While universities and colleges can have massive budgets they’ve got massive need and have been hard hit by funding cuts. They’ll be less inclined to increase administrative staff to address the rising demand resulting from boosts in enrolment.   All this bodes well for the enterprising independent contractor.

Visit the employment offices of your local post-secondary institutions and ask about their process for outsourcing. You may find that they have a tendering process in place and it would be well worth your while to submit a proposal.

smcmillan

Sharon McMillan has spent over 15 years creating successful marketing materials and public relations campaigns for small businesses and professional organizations in the U.S. and Canada. From her perspective, the Internet is truly a life changing gift for the skilled employed or unemployed individual with a dream of entrepreneurship and the willingness to learn.

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23 Responses to The Recession’s Silver Lining
  1. LaTara Ham-Ying
    October 18, 2010 | 4:31 pm

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  2. Aurelia Williams
    October 19, 2010 | 7:41 am

    RT: @GetOnlineBasics The Recession’s Silver Lining – We’d all like this recession to be over sooner rather than late… http://ht.ly/19vA5z

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