Nov. 18, 2011
Kristine Hodsdon's “Finding opportunity in difficult times (How exactly do you do that?) Part 1.” In Part 2, she explores finding opportunities for consultants, speakers, writers, and sales people.

“Oh dear!” cried Chicken Little, “the sky is falling. I must go tell the king.” Sound familiar?

That’s how I started “Finding opportunity in difficult times (How exactly do you do that?) Part 1” (click here). In Part 2, I explore finding opportunities for consultants, speakers, writers, and sales people.

#1-6 are the fundamental points from Part 1, plus updated examples that are applicable to dental entrepreneurs — #7-9 are the new game changers.

Don’t do what you did during good times and expect the same results. Keep up with the changing needs and expectations of clients and customers. Write and speak about new strategies and ideas vs. old re-hashed content. Again, think about what Albert Einstein once said, “"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."Focus on the need.For example, why not offer a teleclass on patient credit options (where to find it, how to extend it, how to keep it, etc.) ? Or what works and doesn't in social media? Or for dentist-owners, a seminar titled, “Since you can’t fill their purses, fill their buckets”?Experiment with new ideas.The more the better. Like I stated last time, the trick is to take a number of small, manageable risks and see what “sticks.” For example, offer a series of free, one-hour consults, or free practice analysis, or develop an affiliate partnership with another consultant or entity. Or if you’re using a stat-tracking program like Google Analytics, you’re able to see what keywords send you traffic. That may help inspire new ideas and services.Follow up on every lead. In a good economy, people get sloppy. There’s no room for that now. Return calls, send the birthday card or e-card, befriend people on LinkedIn — be responsive and accessible. My only caution about being plugged in via social network sites, it may make potential customers wonder why you have so much time to post vs. actually “work.” Remember, you may consider it working — keeping up with social contacts — yet does your target market understand that or does it leave them scratching their heads thinking, “Doesn’t she work at all during the day?”Don’t pretend that times aren’t tough. Emphasize it. Reassess the needs of your marketplace by listening to your clients. Ask them what they need to help weather the economic storm. SurveyMonkey is an easy, inexpensive, cost-effective way to poll your clients.Be optimistic.Times will change; they already are. Focus on what’s working well and share that upbeat attitude with customers and colleagues. Positioning yourself as the go-to person with an optimistic, problem-solving attitude could lead to new opportunities/advancement.Now is NOT the time to skimp on marketing.In fact, it’s the best time to advertise. This may be a great time to re-look at your website testimonials or ask for some new more relevant ones that reflect current situations and how your product or services propelled the customers or as least provided sustainability. Also, highlight the value and efficiency of what you offer rather than your “luxury” items.Layoffs result in new people looking for work. Is it time to recruit some top people? If you’re one of those people looking for work, refresh your skills/resume or start that business you’ve always dreamed of running. Proctor & Gamble, IBM, and Federal Express were all born during recessions.Consider launching your product or service.Customers are willing to try new solutions during tough times if they believe the solutions will ease the tough times. Is it time to blow the dust off that new product or service you’ve been waiting to launch?

So as stated in Part 1, the economic reality has created new boundaries. You can leverage those boundaries to provide your business with focus and increased creativity. Economic downturns are tough, but resourceful entrepreneurs who are willing to take calculated risks can ensure a prosperous future.

Warm Regards,
Kristine A. Hodsdon RDH, BS
Director, RDH eVillage