Over the coming weeks and months, Franchise Direct will be inviting a number of guest bloggers to provide their opinions on franchising and small businesses.
First up is Susan Gunelius, owner of the successful blog Women On Business.
Women + Business + Recession = Opportunity
Women are known for their relationship building skills. It’s a fact cited in research study after research study, and it’s one of the reasons that women are positioned for success during an economic downturn.
Let me explain.
When the economy is weak, most business owners are quick to react, and that reaction typically includes cutting costs. One of the first places that budget dollars are cut from is usually the marketing budget. One of the easiest places to save money is to reduce advertising expenditures.
However, it’s been proven time and again that cutting the marketing budget when the economy tanks is the worst thing a business can do. In fact, when the economy is weak, it’s more important than ever to ensure your brand messages are being heard. That means your marketing initiatives should be ranked higher on the priority list than ever when the economy is on shaky ground and consumers are actively looking for messages of hope and trust as well as brands and businesses to build relationships with.
That leads us back to the opportunity that a recession provides to business women. Since women are inherently good at building strong relationships, it makes sense that women can leverage that innate ability to seize the opportunity a recession presents. The question for many business women is, “Where do I start?” My answer to that question is simple, “anywhere and everywhere.”
With the growth of the social web, the opportunities for networking, interacting with consumers, and building relationships is bigger than ever. Business women can use the tools of the social web to complement their offline networking and relationship building efforts:
- Start a blog for your business.
- Visit other blogs related to your industry and then join the conversation.
- Get on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and be vocal.
- Brush up on your networking skills, and then put yourself out there.
- Make your strength in relationship-building work for you. In other words, use it to position yourself against your competitors.
Your efforts today will pay off in the short term and long term as many of the connections you make will become customers or spread the word about you and your business. That kind of word-of-mouth marketing is worth a lot more than the ancillary ad you might cut from your budget now to weather the economic storm.
About Susan Gunelius Susan Gunelius is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a full service marketing communications provider offering copywriting, business communications, blog, book and article writing, and marketing and branding consulting services. Susan is a published author with three books available in book stores and online (Harry Potter: The Story of a Global Business Phenomenon, Kick-Ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps, and Google Blogger for Dummies). Her fourth book is about the Playboy brand and will hit book stores in Fall 2009. Susan’s marketing-related articles have appeared on a wide variety of websites such as Entrepreneur.com, WomenEntrepreneur.com, MSNBC.com, FoxBusiness.com, BusinessWeek.com, WashingtonPost.com, and more. Susan is an active blogger writing about branding, marketing and advertising at KeySplash Creative Conversations, and she owns Women On Business, one of the leading blogs for women working in the field of business. She is also the Guide to Web Logs for About.com (a New York Times company).