I’m optimistic about 2010. I believe we’re already seeing some green buds poking through the charred remains of the 2009 financial crisis, and I’m seeing some opportunities coming forward. Nothing about 2010 will be easy, but with some well-aimed work and these tips, you can impact your 2010 results:
Partner Up. Everyone had the same rough 2009 as you had. This means that everyone is open for partnerships that might not have made sense the year before. Can you forge some new relationships now, while times are still tough, that will benefit you going forward? Maybe there are others out there struggling to grow their businesses, too. Find them and grow together.
Buy Up. People need cash right now, so they’re willing to take less for what they’re selling. This means there are some great opportunities out there if you have money you can put up-front. Need a bigger retail space? This is the time where landlords may be willing to lease you more space at a cheaper rate in return for payments in advance. Want to get some favorable pricing from some of your suppliers who may need the cash? Maybe pay for a chunk of inventory up-front at a discount. Make some arrangements. Can you offer exclusivity somewhere? If so, see if that can get you something back.
Catch Up. If times are slow, sink some of your extra time into relationship-building. It will pay off when people get the money to spend. You could send notecards to past customers just saying that you’re thinking of them. Don’t make any offers—just connect. Ask them how they're doing. Invite them to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter. The point is that by reaching out to them when times are a bit quiet, they’ll remember you when they’ve got some money.
Spending the next several weeks worrying about your shortfalls in 2009 isn’t going to put more in the bank for 2010. What will get you further ahead is looking for ways to do more with less, to leverage the current oppportunities that are out there, and to build relationships that will weather any storm. Give it some thought, and then move on up.
Chris Brogan is a co-author of the book Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust. You can read his blog here, and follow him on Twitter here.