We have never seen market conditions quite like the ones we have right now. This is new territory for a lot of small business owners. It now seems almost certain that we are headed for global recession so now is the time to prepare yourself.

The good news is that recession does not necessarily spell doom and gloom for small business. In fact histroy shows that many small business owners not only survive but go on to thriving during recession.

The choice of course is yours. If you bury your head in the sand and ignore all the warning signs then you may find your business in hot water later on. On the other hand, if you put in place a few simple strategies starting today then you can achieve great things while your competitors suffer.

Here are 5 keys to surviving and thriving the recession:

1. Income Streams – The first area you will want to address is how you earn your income in your business. When times are good and money just flows to you we rarely think about HOW we earn the money. Heading into a recession it is best to have a clear understanding of your income streams and how to improve them.

Firstly you will want to develop additional income streams in your business. If you provide a service then productise your knowledge and develop products around that service. If you currently sell products then add a service component to your business.

You may also want to look at diversifying your business into other related areas in order to create additional income streams. A Financial Planning client of mine has recently added an Accounting & Tax business, and a Mortgage Brokerage business. This makes sense as they can cross promote each other.

Next you want to look at how you can increase your prices so that the average dollar value of a client is higher than it currently is. Do this before we are in deep recession. Look for ways to increase the value of the product or service you offer.

Lastly look at the way you charge for your products or services. Explore ways you can develop continuity income (ie Income that is recurring each month), putting clients on longer term contracts, or expanding the range of products or services through bundling.

2. Greater Visibility – It is critical that you do not reduce your marketing efforts and lose visibility. This is a common mistake made by many small business owners … when cash flow tightens they look to cut costs. So they slash their marketing budgets and immediately lose visibility.

They key to doing well in recession is to increase the visibility you have in your market place. You want to use as many visibility strategies as you can to get noticed by your target market. The good news is that many of these visibility strategies are free!

You want to sit down at the start of each month and map out which visibility strategies you will use for that month. Then put them into your calendar and take action. Make them a priority as visibility in your target market is what drives your marketing funnel.

3. Leverage Your Marketing Assets – Every small business already has marketing assest that they have worked hard to develop but are not fully using. That has been okay in the growing economy we have had however you can not afford to be so inefficient in the future.

So you want to sit down and look at all of your existing marketing assests and relationships and ask yourself how you can use this better. How can you leverage your existing assets into greater marketing opportunities? How can you utilise the coming recession as a marketing opportunity? Take a look at the picture above for an example of how one hot dog vendor is doing this.

Here is a big clue … the largest marketing asset you probably have is your existing client base. So explore ideas on how you can better leverage your existing clients. It always amazes me how many small business owners are always looking for ways to find new clients yet they never talk to their past ones.

4. Expand TOMA – Now more than ever it is critical to have a systematic approach to developing TOMA. This stands for Top Of Mind Awareness. You need a system to imprint you and your business in the minds of your customers, past customers, prospective customers, business contacts, and target market.

My golden rule in business is to never let anyone forget you. Problem is … in a world where we are overwhelmed with marketing messages and our attention is fragmented it is harder than ever to get people to remember you. That is why I say again you must have a SYSTEM to create TOMA.

5. Adherence To Marketing System – The last thing you must have is a well thought out marketing system. During the boom markets of the last 10 years most small business owners have not had to think about marketing. There was just so much business that they received enough to make a good living. Well that is about to change.

It is my opinion that you simply must put into place right now a marketing system that ATTRACTS new prospective clients to you, enables you to develop a relationship of trust with them, allows them to pre-sell themselves on you, creates TOMA, and systematically leads them to wanting to do business with YOU.

So there are 5 key ideas for you to go to work on today. By preparing yourself today for the coming recession you will be in a much better position to prosper while your competitors are hit hard.

Article Reference: Rod Moore – Profit Minute