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Entrepreneurs: Evolve or Perish in Tough Times

August 10, 2010

We recently reported that, over recent months, the “accidental entrepreneur” has emerged — women and men who, after getting laid off and finding a lackluster job market, decided that it is time to become their own employers.

So, now what? It one thing to jump into the start-up world, but how do you stay afloat in these uncertain time?

It’s essential to continuously  transform your business model to survive this economic downturn, writes Entrepreneur.com’s Chris Penttila in Learn to Evolve.

Become a Game Changer

“This recession is different from other recessions in its scope and depth, and the worst thing you can do is more of the same,” Penttila says. Penttila offers seven ways that entrepreneurs can become game changers, including:

  • Get comfortable with chaos, including constant economic turbulence from globalization and technology.
  • Reassess your customers’ values. Know how people’s values and purchases have changed. “The answers could spark new product and service ideas aimed at value-conscious customers,” Penttila says.
  • Understand that a good product always sells, even in bad times, of the product — or service — helps people solve real problems.
  • Think new markets, not just cost-cutting. “Game changers see levers they can pull (e.g., affordability, convenience, accessibility, location and cost) that change a market or create an entirely new one.”

Lessons Learned from Women Entrepreneurs

Perhaps the best advice is to recognize that you’re not alone in these hard times.

Mike Michalowicz, in his Toilet Paper Entrepreneur blog, has compiled a list of more than 200 lessons learned from entrepreneurs. Here are a few from women entrepreneurs:

Nicole Dean of Busy Marketers Coach: “The recession has been an opportunity for me to reflect on the values of my business. “It’s challenged me to serve my clients even better by offering them more value for their hard-earned money, and only recommending products and services that I personally would recommend to my best friend. I had that attitude from the beginning, but it’s pushed me to take it to a deeper level. I think my customers appreciate that. By adding more value and giving more results, you’ll better weather the storm.”

Dotty Scott of Premium Websites: “The media will waste your time and pull your focus away. My number one lesson was to turn off the TV/radio and stop listening to the media. I found that I stopped worrying about the economy and gained focus on my business. My business started to grow in spite of the economy and that was a direct result of focus, work and not participating in the dooms-day attitude of the media.”

Nancy Rielle of VerveCards.com: “During a recession, folks still buy, they just buy way more judiciously. And, if your product or service is recession-friendly and actually helps people save money in a solid, value-added way, then recessionary spending can work in your favor!”

Siobhan Shaw of The Broke Wives Club: “The biggest lesson learned from the recession is that this is not the time to stick your head in the sand waiting for things to get better, for the government to bail you out or for money to magically appear. It’s a time for working hard, creating great ideas and networking. Keep plugging away at it until someone says, ‘YES!'”

Stacy Karacostas of The Unchained Entrepreneur: “Most entrepreneurs pull back on marketing during a recession because cash flow is tight. But that means there’s more opportunity for you to get noticed and get clients because there’s less competition. So cut costs elsewhere and do all the marketing you can, and you’ll get more clients — and more bang for your marketing buck. Plus, as the recession ends, you’ll be top of mind while your competition is forgotten.”

We Want to Hear from You!

How is your business weathering the storm? What lessons have you learned from the recession?

In Your Shoes is created by Johnston & Murphy, offering quality shoes and outerwear for women and men. We welcome your comments and contributions.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 10, 2010 5:22 pm

    Great post. I will read your posts frequently. Added you to the RSS reader.

  2. August 10, 2010 5:27 pm

    Nice site. Theres some good information on here. Ill be checking back regularly.

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