In my former life, I was a purchasing agent for a seafood company. This time of year reminds me of the salmon runs. During the summer months, many wild salmon species take the journey back to their birthplace to spawn and ultimately end their lives.

Their upstream journey is a challenging one, swimming upstream against rugged rapids, leaping over rocky waterfalls, traversing fish ladders, avoiding fishermen nets and hooks, and staying clear of hungry bears. When they finally reach their natal stream they are ready to spawn. This is an amazing and focused journey calling them to do what comes naturally.

Some of my clients take such a journey to find new clients, and even maintaining the ones they currently enjoy. Nowadays we have to think outside the box with our marketing and face the challenges of competition, less disposable income, overcoming objections, and differentiating ourselves by creating benefits clients simply can't live without.

On the flip side, I'm looking for the clients who are like the salmon - the clients who will go through the upstream battle to find the most professional support to provide the BEST level of service and technology to create the 'can't live without' message that reaches that ideal client who will help them grow their business no matter what the condition of the economy.

There are only a few ways to grow a business, no matter what the economic situation:

• Find new clients

• Sell more to current clients by upselling or increasing the number of times they purchase

• Raise prices

While the economy is soft, we try not to raise prices, but sometimes it's just necessary to cover the increased costs we all have to bear. Upselling, or adding more products/services to the current client's purchase, is a great way to grow your business with little to no cost. Finding new clients is probably the most expensive way to grow your business, but one that can certainly yield great results if you have the right plan and consistent implementation.

With the recent addition of social media marketing as an opportunity to expand and grow your Internet presence and reach a larger market segment, adding this technology to your marketing plan can help you to gain new business, get instant input and information to help you understand how your product or service is perceived and accepted, and introduce new products and services at virtually no cost.

Knowing that it would be much easier to throw in the towel and just accept that the economy is bad and we have no control over it, I prefer to take the upstream journey of the salmon and continue to change my marketing strategies and enhance my Internet presence to continue to grow my business.

So where are you in the life cycle of my salmon story? Ready to look for those focused clients who are willing to swim upstream to get to your product or service? And are you willing to leap over rocky waterfalls and traverse rough waters to find the most professional support you need? Whatever you decide, increase your marketing time and investment if you want to grow your business, or take a chance you'll get left behind.

Author's Bio: 

Jeannine Clontz, IVAA CVA, MVA, EthicsChecked™, provides marketing and social media support, training and consulting to busy entrepreneurs. For information about finding a VA, download her FREE 10-Step Guide to Finding the Right VA, or to learn why Social Media should be an important part of your marketing plan with her FREE Report, Social Media Marketing Benefits, visit:, or contact her at