A Matter of Survival

Survival is on every business owners mind. IT businesses, like manyservice provides, are caught in a double bind. Not only do they need toensure their own survival, they need to do everything they can to helptheir clients survive.

There is a lot of free advice available. Most of it is worth exactlywhat you pay for it. Each business is different, each region isdifferent and what works for one business may not work for another. Weare a small web services business in the Comox Valley on centralVancouver Island. The local population is about 60,000. The mainemployer is CFB Comox. The rest of the employment base is in forestry,fishing and health care. (It is a retirement area.) All sectors exceptthe military and health care are suffering.

Here is how we are coping.

Diversify The Income Stream

About a year ago we added on-line marketing and search engineoptimization as part of our core services. These were fairly easy tointegrate into our operation. While we had been offering the serviceson a limited basis – they are now our main selling point. Prior to thatour main selling points were design and a custom content managementsystem. This year we have partnered with a marketing consultant and will be able to offer complete marketing packages.

Move Up Scale

This is not for everyone and is some what counter intuitive. We arein the process of dropping the option of a low cost website. Wecurrently offer a three page brochure site for $300.00. We will bedropping that. We are still deciding whether we will offer a simplerproduct at a higher price point or drop the service completely. This isa little bit of taking our own advice. I had blogged on the problems of marketing on price. The competition in this sector is high and the returns are low.

Improving Our Services

This will be different for every business.

We have always tried to respond promptly to clients request. In today’s competitive market – trying is not good enough – you MUSTrespond promptly. Keeping existing clients is always easier thangetting new ones. We are also looking for ways we can add value to toour service. From our blog to sending clients notices of the latestscams and virus report, we are constantly looking for ways to add valuewithout adding a lot of cost.

Know When To Quit

This is the hardest thing we have to do – considering if we should continues the business.

We are lucky, we have very little overhead. However, we are now doing our SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis every three months instead of annually.

The thought of losing our business is traumatic. Losing a businessis like losing a family member. However, getting out before we havelost our houses and your savings is preferable to trying to ‘wait itout’.

Will these ideas work for your business – I don’t know. I can’t sayfor sure they will, in the long run, work for our business. They arewhat we are trying. And, so far they are working.

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