Posted 5th October 2011.
Painful though a recession is, it does have its upsides.
One of those is change.
In a period of stability, established firms have the advantage. Stability means that what worked yesterday will work today. And so potential clients primarily look to firms with long track records and client references.
When turbulence hits, everything changes. What worked yesterday no longer works today. The long track records, testimonials and references count for less.
Clients want to know “what's working now?”, “what works in a recession?”. Yesterday's answers no longer seem so relevant or valuable.
In this environment a new firm with fresh ideas can thrive.
But they can't be unproven ideas.
When clients ask “what's working now?” they don't want to hear untested concepts or thoughts on what might work. They want someone to tell them what's working right now for other businesses (or individuals).
How can you tell them that?
You have to do some work. Some research. Find out what really is working right now. Analyse or interview successful businesses in your niche. Figure out what they've done that made the difference. Extract the common themes and package them into recommendations.
Seems like hard work? Good.
Because it's hard work, almost no one does it.
You can get a tremendous edge by being the one advisor in your niche who does that hard work. Who has the facts and the data to share.
If I was a local business coach, for example, what I'd do is identify 10 local businesses who were growing fast despite the recession. I'd interview the 10 business owners for 30-60 minutes – maybe face to face, maybe over the phone. I'd develop a little model of what works for these local “recession busters” and a presentation about it.
Then I'd market the hell out of it.
I'd run seminars on it. Write a report and use that as a lead magnet for the web, direct mail and telemarketing.
I'd record an audio and give it away at networking events. I'd get myself on the radio and in the local press talking about it.
I'd position myself as an authority on recession busting strategies for small businesses locally. I'd overtake the established firms.
And I'd stand out on my own.
Because almost no one does this.
No one goes that extra mile to create this kind of intellectual capital.
Everyone says they'll do anything to get more clients. But few stretch to doing the hard intellectual work of creating something valuable like this.
Are you going to do it?
You can download my free guide to doing a research project here.