I don’t have to say it, you already know -- It’s scary out there. Economic downturns hit everyone hard, but especially the sole proprietor business in start up phase or operating on a shoestring budget. What can be done to survive?
If you can stay flexible and rise above fear – two key elements for survival according to many experts in both counseling and financial fields – there are at least 4 ways to approach this precarious period.
1. Diversify your offerings.
Is there a technique you use but have never considered marketing separately? Now’s the time to open new niche markets to skills you already have. Be sure the skills you select really address the needs people have right now, or this diversification will be wasted and unfocused effort. For example, I use projective imagery with counseling clients as an assessment tool. It’s a short hop from that to offering tarot readings. When money is tight, more people are willing to spend for one-time information than are willing to engage in unending therapy.
2. Recycle your knowledge.
Look at what you know and find at least 3 ways to offer it at 3 different price points. If you are an ND seeing diabetic patients for $125 an hour, for example, there will likely be some common themes of nutritional advice that you give everyone with diabetes. Why not record that as an MP3 file and sell it on your website or put it on a cd for sale for $12.50? Then put that information in writing and format it as an ebook for the same price. Give extra info in the ebook and package the cd and ebook together for $20.
3. Increase your visible value to your target market.
This means sharpening your marketing message, being focused on problem solving the actual issues that people currently have and not trying to persuade them to want things that are esoteric or not primary on their minds right now. That requires really knowing what your niche market is thinking and feeling. Ask them!
4. Keep your eyes open for advantageous opportunities.
Accept invitations to speak, even for free, then use your presentation in other ways for other audiences. Leverage your efforts by recycling in order to reach more potential clients. Or, search the web for free webmaster tools (see www.bravenet.com for one such resource) to add sticky value to your own website and get your message across in new ways.