How to Build a Pipeline During an Economic Downturn

“Timing is everything.” You’ve heard it many times; you probably even have said it occasionally. It’s one of those expressions that can lift you up when good things happen, such as being “in the right place at the right time” to take advantage of an opportunity in business.

It can also be a wry commentary on how circumstances out of anyone’s individual control can affect business plans for growth and expansion. Luckily, with a bit of planning, you should be able to pivot your reaction to new circumstances with a minimum of disruption.

Here are some ways to build a pipeline to your customer base that will see you through an economic downturn:

How to Build a Pipeline During an Economic Downturn

“Timing is everything.” You’ve heard it many times; you probably even have said it occasionally. It’s one of those expressions that can lift you up when good things happen, such as being “in the right place at the right time” to take advantage of an opportunity in business.

It can also be a wry commentary on how circumstances out of anyone’s individual control can affect business plans for growth and expansion. Luckily, with a bit of planning, you should be able to pivot your reaction to new circumstances with a minimum of disruption.

Here are some ways to build a pipeline to your customer base that will see you through an economic downturn:

1. Don’t wait until a crisis hits:

Do some serious contingency planning, and be able to scale your operations up or down based on your latest financial reports.

1. Don’t wait until a crisis hits:

Do some serious contingency planning, and be able to scale your operations up or down based on your latest financial reports.

2. Build up an emergency fund:

Business planning requires reinvestment of funds to fuel growth and development, but it’s important to also maintain a reserve fund, whether it’s cash or borrowing ability.

2. Build up an emergency fund:

Business planning requires reinvestment of funds to fuel growth and development, but it’s important to also maintain a reserve fund, whether it’s cash or borrowing ability.

3. Take a lesson from current events:

Disasters happen, whether they’re accidents, weather events or viruses. In all cases, react as quickly as possible. Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best!

3. Take a lesson from current events:

Disasters happen, whether they’re accidents, weather events or viruses. In all cases, react as quickly as possible. Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best!

4. Know your limitations:

In good times as well as during downturns, know that you cannot be all things to all customers. Whether you sell goods or services, concentrate on what you do best.

4. Know your limitations:

In good times as well as during downturns, know that you cannot be all things to all customers. Whether you sell goods or services, concentrate on what you do best.

5. Plan Ahead:

Businesses that survive and thrive during economic downturns not only know how to “tighten their belts” and budgets for slow times, but they explore ways to scale up quickly when signs of a turnaround appear. Use the occasional slow periods to assess and correct current deficiencies, to learn and implement new procedures, and to strategize for the future.

5. Plan Ahead:

Businesses that survive and thrive during economic downturns not only know how to “tighten their belts” and budgets for slow times, but they explore ways to scale up quickly when signs of a turnaround appear. Use the occasional slow periods to assess and correct current deficiencies, to learn and implement new procedures, and to strategize for the future.

6. Mine your resources:

Economic downturns are not normally exclusive. If your sales are down, chances are good that your customers are also feeling a pinch. You’ll be ahead of the game if you can offer clients a financing plan for needed equipment, a rent-to-buy option, or a discount on future inventory as an incentive to purchase now.

6. Mine your resources:

Economic downturns are not normally exclusive. If your sales are down, chances are good that your customers are also feeling a pinch. You’ll be ahead of the game if you can offer clients a financing plan for needed equipment, a rent-to-buy option, or a discount on future inventory as an incentive to purchase now.

7. Form beneficial alliances:

Learn from competitors as well as from your associates and affiliates. Know that, as has been proven with every downturn in recent history, that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” In this case, it’s a good thing to be one of the crowd.

7. Form beneficial alliances:

Learn from competitors as well as from your associates and affiliates. Know that, as has been proven with every downturn in recent history, that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” In this case, it’s a good thing to be one of the crowd.

Finally, acknowledge that it’s not you or your team — no matter how good you all are — that are the true measure of your business success. It is your customers. Keep it touch through newsletters and social media. Empathize with their concerns. Identify new areas of service or additional product lines that are relevant. Respond and relate to customer needs, and you’ll reap the rewards of loyalty and good will, no matter what the economic outlook.

Finally, acknowledge that it’s not you or your team — no matter how good you all are — that are the true measure of your business success. It is your customers. Keep it touch through newsletters and social media. Empathize with their concerns. Identify new areas of service or additional product lines that are relevant. Respond and relate to customer needs, and you’ll reap the rewards of loyalty and good will, no matter what the economic outlook.