MPI Perspective - June 2009 - (Page 15)

Hot tips for surviving in a cold business climate By Cynthia Shon Corporate Games, Inc. Team Building & Training It’s not “business as usual,” and we have to be more proactive, creative and supportive. Consider the headlines in the business section of any local newspaper: “More Lay-offs,” “Bankruptcy,” “Store Closing,” “Foreclosures Increase,” “Market Plunges.” It’s apparent that it is not “business as usual.” Budgets are slim and extravagances are frowned upon. It’s no longer just waiting for the phone to ring or the e-mail inquiry off your Web site. It means “rolling up our sleeves,” getting off our behinds and getting out there. Be “PC” — Proactive and Creative… Use your associations. Chamber of Commerce, MPI, CVB — or whatever groups you belong to — and get involved in ways that give you “face-time.” I am not talking about going to mixers for networking. Offer to speak at a program or provide an educational class to other chamber members. They will actually promote you when you do this — and you’ll be in front of groups of people who are listening to you. Go to the “New Member Orientation” meetings. This is an easy way to meet a lot of people who are eager to network and wouldn’t mind having you introduce them to other members of your association. Use the Internet and e-mail newsletters. Get savvy about “search engine optimization.” There are articles online and services that can help you. Consider monthly newsletters that have content. Companies that can help you do this charge only about $15 per month. If you don’t have a Web site, get one. You can easily start a very inexpensive Web site using Network Solutions. Update it regularly, because search engine “spiders” like new content. Also, find ways to exchange “quality links” with other businesses and associations. These links help your search engine rankings — and cost you nothing. Consider what you do and what services you currently offer. Then consider what businesses need in these times. Expand or adjust what you do so that you are a much more valuable resource. If you do not continue to change and reinvent yourself, your business will ultimately die from being outdated and unnecessary. If people call you to “pick your brain” on a certain subject, consider writing a short manual or book — and either sell it or give it away. It will have more value than a business card. Provide free services for select groups that can refer business to you. You do not need to give them everything, but helping them will give them an understanding of your expertise and encourage them to reciprocate by referring business to you. Additionally, establishing these relationships can easily result in Web site link exchanges and joint marketing programs. It’s another entity promoting your business — at no cost to you. Take a different approach to networking. We are all in this economy together. Instead of simply exchanging cards with others, ask the question — “what do we have in common?” Take the time to find out more about those you encounter and how you can help each other. The “hard sell” is out. What are your hobbies and how can you use them to increase business? A hobby is an expertise, too. Golf is the example that everyone thinks of, but every hobby has its enthusiasts. Those people are part of your network too; let them know what you do. Invite business contacts to share or try out your hobby if they are interested. Doing business on horseback is just as easy as doing it on the golf course. Volunteer. When you help others, it opens door after door of possibilities. Aside from expanding your network, making new friends, and acquiring new skills, you may even find a new career. ● “Above all — don’t be paralyzed by bad economic news. Keep moving forward!” Cynthia Shon is President of Corporate Games Team Building and Training and a member of MPI since 1992. She can be reached at (925) 249-0669 or MPINCCperspective | VOL. 27, NO. 6 | 15

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MPI Perspective - June 2009

MPI Perspective - June 2009
President’s Message
Meetings Mean Business
Survival Guide for Planners
Survival Guide for Suppliers
Connecting with — Sean Kirklen, CMP
Member Pearls
Chapter Chatter
Sponsor Spotlight
Index to Advertisers

MPI Perspective - June 2009