For those of you who are stressing about a dip in the economy consider this: some of the most enduring businesses were started and expanded in times of economic downturn.

Being a small business owner is a terrifically rewarding experience or a terrifying roller coaster of fear. By taking the time to create a strong foundation, connect with your clients and build purposeful, intentional relationships, you can create a lasting, successful business that endures the tests of time. Don't let the drama of news headlines send you into a reactive zone. Instead, pay full attention to what you do, connect with those who you serve, and be clear about benefits of your service or product. MOST IMPORTANTLY, build relationships of common purpose and core values.

Here are a few tips to grow your business even when the economy is slow.

1. Name how your product or service is important to your clients today.
Be specific. Take time to address the issues your clients are facing and demonstrate your understanding and ability to address their concerns and needs.

Here are a few examples:
• Why is massage essential when people are enduring financial strain?
• How can financial planning help them get through this tough time?
• How can teen leadership be of greater value to corporate donors?
• How can storytelling enhance non-profit fundraising?

Whether you are a healing practitioner, a non-profit, a performer or an entrepreneur---by addressing the factors that are impacting your clients' lives, you demonstrate your appreciation and knowledge of their challenges and provide practical tools to improve their quality of life.

2. Offer outstanding customer service.
Whether or not it is a 'down' economy, building strong customer relationships should be central to your business. As I travel throughout the country, I am shocked at the lack of true customer care. If you simply provide personable service that honors clients' needs, your business is already ahead of most.

I recently read a fabulous book titled Small Giants: Companies Who Choose to Be Great Rather than Big. One company owner referred to his commitment to enlightened customer service. He shares how, although he can teach people the skills of customer care, the desire to truly be in service is a special quality. Please, value your customers. They are indeed precious!

During a slow economy, people are less willing to take 'risks' with new people. Having your clients refer people to you is a tremendous mark of trust. Make sure you respond with a thank you!

3. Offer options for clients to maximize their resources.
In a weak economy, offering options or levels of service is a great way to expand the potential for clients to work with you. Get innovative in your packaging of your services for greater affordability. Demonstrate that you understand their need to be creative with their finances. For example, you might offer a group program, a discount for a series of treatments, or a self-learning program. Just make sure you're not doing it from a place of fear---thinking that if you don't offer a bargain people won't work with you.

4. Focus your outreach. Go public. Be seen. Gain valuable credibility.
A slow economy is the perfect time to connect with organizations that are respected and serve a common client community. These partnerships help both of you expand your reach and cultivate community. In addition, consider writing articles, blogs or quick tips. As people search for resources, these articles can be their entrée to get to know you and gain trust in your knowledge. So, if you've been a bit timid about going public, this is the time to take the risk and step outside of your comfort zone. By gaining visibility, people have a chance to experience you and your work before committing their limited finances

5. Stay informed.
Now is the time to stay informed! Make sure that you are not reacting to the media or the 'fears' that run rampant. Talk to business leaders you respect. Learn better ways to stay connected. Get news from sources your value. Watch the trends and address them. Solicit feedback from your workers and customers. Stay focused on your mission, offer excellent service and connect with intention.

Author's Bio: 

About Carolyn Campbell: Melding her expertise in community outreach, alternative education and business development, Carolyn helps organizations and businesses increase visibility, credibility and financial health by communicating their capacity and commitment to meet the needs of their clients, partners, and communities.