4 strategies

Here are four strategies for tough economic times. See if one will help you today:

1. Drive a HARD focus on bottom-line VALUE
Some organizations are establishing themselves as THE beacon in this storm, the one item a member/customer cannot afford to cut. They are doing this by providing unique, REVENUE-DELIVERING value. This means sussing out the practical, short-term, survival needs their customers are intent on finding, and providing it. Examples include redesigning professional conferences around the single, hottest issue or nest of issues members are facing, publishing handbooks that lay out options and innovations to help people cope with the most pressing financial challenges they are facing, and providing customers with information on how to generate alternative sources of funding and resources for core services.

2. EXPAND alliances to BROADEN your base.
This is a game-changing strategy that has major impact on the organization’s mission. Some organizations are choosing to bring in partners-in-waiting who have been long standing in the wings, looking for a way to participate. Others are reaching out to new sponsors, connecting with parallel industries not challenged in the economic crunch. Examples include transportation organizations reaching out to toll-roads (they generate their own revenue). Or, health organizations reaching out to processed-food organizations, like Kraft, that are seeing a spike in their sales as people choose their products over going out to eat. Who are the adjacent industries to  you or your customers who would like to get into your action? Are there new needs emerging that are best served by new alliances? Are you in a position to lead those alliances?

When I worked at the World Bank we spent million$ to install a new Enterprise Resource Planning system. It covered everything from travel to loan disbursement, from procurement to budget. It was a Herculean effort that took months and overhauled our business processes, replacing over 100 legacy systems with a single, state-of-the-art program. Once it was installed, up and running, the organization lost enthusiasm for harvesting the great gains it could have brought in. It was used primarily to do what we had always done, only better. But, there were new, innovative ways to use it that would have taken us a quantum leap forward in many areas of critical performance. Are you using your system for its best impact? Now is the time to take the investment you have already made, and work it to your advantage.

4. Identify NEW CUSTOMERS for EXISTING products and services.
You already do a great job of meeting your patrons’  needs. What other customers are there for those same products and services? I know an organization that began selling its archive of publications to libraries and brought in an extra $200k per year as a result. Their archive had already been developed, published, and was readily available online to current members. It took only a little bit of code and marketing to bring in the additional revenue.


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