A negative economy can be a crisis situation for many businesses, but it was President Kennedy who reminded the nation

“When written in Chinese the word crisis is composed of two characters. One represents danger while the other represents opportunity.” It means opportunity for those who are prepared to take advantage and danger for those who aren’t.

The more visible you are, the more confidant your customers and prospects become. The more they are reminded of your legitimacy and staying power, the more they’ll be inclined to believe you’ll be there for them tomorrow.

Remember too that during any period of economic downturn your best customers become someone else’s best prospects. When you stop inviting them to do business with you, a more aggressive competitor may become much more attractive.

In a bad economy, there are many opportunities to expose your business to new customers that aren’t always possible in a good economy.

For instance, during down economic times you can get better deals on advertising. I was responsible for purchasing some billboards in Kansas City for a project in 2009. What I discovered was that for half the price of the previous year I got double the boards!

Don’t be afraid to address the bad economy in your advertising either. Travelocity aired a simple commercial to announce its Silver Lining Sale. In the first three seconds, you see the words, “We know times are tight.”

Wal-Mart is running an effective ad campaign. The commercials don’t say, “Hey, come on out. We’ve got electronics, clothes, sporting goods, prescriptions and more at a low cost.” Instead, the ads focus on very specific items and how much you’ll save over a year by purchasing these items directly from Wal-Mart.

The world’s largest retailer, according to Advertising.com, posted its best sales performance in nine months, with a 5.1-percent sales gain in February 2009 as a result.

Which character will your company be? Danger or Opportunity?

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