Ways to Recession-Proof Your Process Serving or Investigation Business
- February 10, 2009
- by ServeNow.com Staff
The media has been filled with news about a recession coming, and it is making small business owners uneasy. The truth is that even when the economy is bumpy, some businesses continue to thrive. A recession is not a death sentence for a good business. If you have a process serving or investigation business, you can continue to succeed and grow your business – even when the economy crumbles. After all, clients will continue to need court documents delivered and investigations completed despite economic conditions. There are many ways that you can recession-proof your business:
Increase your Marketing.
Many businesses assume that marketing is dispensable, and rush to cut their advertising and marketing budgets at the first sign of economic trouble. However, this strategy can backfire. You need to focus on marketing more to ensure that you have more business during tough times. You inevitably will lose some clients when the economy takes a downturn, and only by increasing your marketing can you gain new clients to replace the lost business. It is highly likely that your competition will cut their marketing and advertising. This leaves you a large opportunity to move in where they no longer have exposure.
Cultivate Relationships With People Whose Businesses Grow in Recessions.
Some businesses suffer in a recession, but some businesses actually prosper. If you focus on doing business with those companies that prosper in tough times, you will enjoy plenty of work and plenty of profits. For example, in a recession, debt collection, foreclosures, and bankruptcy – as well as litigation resulting from these problems – is on the rise. Working with companies in these industries can improve your bottom line. Look to industries that work with failed businesses and real estate collection. PIs can focus on workers’ compensation cases, repossession investigations, corporate investigations (which are a must during a recession’s many mergers and acquisitions), fraud investigations, criminal cases and bankruptcies.
If You See a Need, Work to Fill It.
When the economy is doing well, it becomes easy to slip into the habit of staying in the office and doing business by phone and email. When the economy takes a downturn, though, you cannot rest on your laurels. Meet your current clients and listen to their problems. See these meetings as opportunities. If you can offer good solutions to client problems, you will be able to actually grow your business during a recession.
Excellent customer service is a great way to market your business because it creates valuable word-of-mouth advertising. Adding value to your products and services also makes you far more attractive to your customers and prospective clients. The worst thing you can do in a bad economy is to add price without adding value. It will send your clients straight to your competitors.
Create a Loyalty Program.
Your customers have choices. Keep your clients coming back to you by creating a reward program for your best customers. Is there a law firm giving you 50 serves a month? Is there a firm sending you several investigations each month? After a specific number of serves or investigations, offer a discount or a free service or gift.
Tighten up Your Spending.
Many businesses turn to reducing costs first, but you should be careful how you trim your budget. Shift money in your budget to anything that will garner new business. After that, look for ways to reduce spending without reducing the quality of your services. Look for a credit card with a lower rate, for example, or look for a lower-cost cell phone provider. Do things online rather than paying an extra employee to do routine tasks for you and watch those transportation costs – find shorter routes when serving documents. Scan and e-mail at the office rather than running up printer toner costs.
Reevaluate Your Pricing Structure.
You should be competing on service, not on price. Rather than slashing your rates, focus on providing better services. However, you do need to regularly review them, so take a look at your prices – have you raised them lately? The consumer price index has gone up an average of 3 percentage points a year and your prices should have kept pace with this.
A recession does not have to be bad news. Many businesses actually prosper when the economy is shaky, and your company should be a part of this. Implement a plan now to keep your profits healthy – no matter what happens.