8 Ways To Help Your Contracting Business Weather Economic Uncertainty

Posted by David Chism | Mon, Nov 7, 2022

 8 Ways To Help Your Contracting  Business Weather Economic Uncertainty

When the pace of my phone calls and text mes­sages start to pick up, I know change is in the air…

And right now, most of the calls, texts, and emails I’m receiv­ing are in regard to our strange eco­nom­ic cli­mate. Con­trac­tors want to know if I’m see­ing leads slow across the coun­try, if there are things they should be doing dif­fer­ent­ly, and if they should be wor­ried at all.

The short answer? It varies. I see some clients doing well, con­sis­tent with years past (and stick­ing to their growth tra­jec­to­ry), while oth­ers seem to be expe­ri­enc­ing a strange drop in leads despite heavy mar­ket­ing efforts.

I see it much like prepar­ing for a poten­tial storm: wor­ry­ing about it doesn’t do any good, but it’s def­i­nite­ly advis­able to watch the weath­er and make prac­ti­cal steps and informed deci­sions. That way, whether you get a pass­ing sprin­kle or are slammed, you’ve pre­pared the best you can.

Is this anoth­er 2008 crash? Prob­a­bly not, but many of the con­trac­tors in my cir­cles who weath­ered that par­tic­u­lar storm are still con­cerned, and under­stand­ably so. Rather than stress about it, let’s see what we learned from the 08 dis­as­ter and see how we can use it to pro­tect your busi­ness now.

1. Cash is king

Now is the time to think care­ful­ly before spend­ing your cash. Is it the best time to pur­chase more equip­ment for your busi­ness (that isn’t 100% nec­es­sary), or a vehi­cle, boat, RV, or vaca­tion home for you? In some cas­es pur­chas­ing new items for your busi­ness can be a good idea, but just make sure you have a han­dle on your finances and avoid unnec­es­sary debt. Keep your books lean and mean.

2. Every lead counts

This is the time to improve the process­es in your busi­ness, includ­ing how you han­dle and view the leads you are get­ting. Make sure that you become less par­tic­u­lar about the leads and instead deter­mine how to best nur­ture them. Every one, even the low­er-qual­i­ty” ones, cost you mon­ey and may be hard­er to come by if the econ­o­my con­tin­ues to slow. This could mean it’s time to invest in sys­tems that help with automa­tion, bet­ter ways to answer the phone, pre­qual­i­fy­ing, lead mag­nets, etc. In oth­er words, don’t be as selec­tive, assum­ing some inquiries are just junk.

3. Main­tain a high­ly-trained sales team

Lead­ing up to 2008, I saw a lot of sales­peo­ple become order tak­ers, scal­ing back on the actu­al art of sell­ing. The abun­dance of leads made prospect­ing less impor­tant and sell­ing tech­niques less crit­i­cal. Sell­ing was easy, or at least a lot eas­i­er! If you are active­ly in sales, make sure you are pre­pared to use those skills and put them to good use. Get rid of the head trash!!

4. Prospect­ing and hunting

Regard­less of the econ­o­my, prospect­ing and hunt­ing should NEV­ER stop in your orga­ni­za­tion, but it’s espe­cial­ly cru­cial now. Your team needs to be active­ly invest­ed in the com­mu­ni­ty, net­work­ing, build­ing cir­cles of influ­ence, and prospect­ing all. the. time.

5. Build your brand

Make sure your brand­ing and mes­sage are clear. If you don’t have a brand guide yet, cre­ate one, and make work through help­ful exer­cis­es like build­ing a cus­tomer avatar. Who are you try­ing to reach, what are their needs and con­cerns, and how do you meet those needs? Then con­tin­ue to get your brand into your tar­get mar­ket. Those who have cash on hand, don’t stop their mar­ket­ing, and play it smart will become the heavy hit­ters and grow their com­pa­ny — even in a recession.

6. Change your mindset

Instead of think­ing about the neg­a­tives, think about what you want to cre­ate in the com­ing months, year, three years, etc. When you focus on the neg­a­tive, you will miss out on all the pos­si­bil­i­ties and oppor­tu­ni­ties that are right in front of you. So focus on what you want to create! 

7. Get seri­ous about your mar­ket­ing team

If you do not have reg­u­lar mar­ket­ing meet­ings, get that going. I would also sug­gest set­ting up a mar­ket­ing com­mit­tee as well to make sure that projects don’t stall out but keep rolling for­ward. A mar­ket­ing com­mit­tee does not have to be peo­ple with­in your own orga­ni­za­tion. I have seen con­tract­ing busi­ness­es reach out to their banker, a ven­dor and oth­er local busi­ness­es to join their mar­ket­ing committees. 

8. Stand out by edu­cat­ing your audience

Inbound mar­ket­ing has been pop­u­lar with mar­keters for a cou­ple decades now, but real­ly took off after 2008. The quick ver­sion? Inbound mar­ket­ing is the idea that your prospects come LOOK­ING for your ser­vices because you’ve edu­cat­ed them and become an author­i­ty in your indus­try. This is a pow­er­ful com­ple­ment to out­bound mar­ket­ing activ­i­ties: cold call­ing, door knock­ing, Google ads, etc. Edu­cat­ing your audi­ence and being an author­i­ty in your space should nev­er stop, but now is the time to take that author­i­ty to anoth­er lev­el. Invest your time in cre­at­ing excep­tion­al con­tent: blogs, pod­casts, videos, social media con­tent, local net­work­ing events, etc. Make sure you stand above your com­pe­ti­tion as the lead­ing voice in your industry.

The take­away?

This isn’t the time to slow down and watch the clouds accu­mu­late on the hori­zon. We don’t know what the future will hold… We do know, and expe­ri­ence has shown us again and again, that push­ing for­ward and mak­ing smart moves NOW will always pay off in the long run. Will you ever regret improv­ing your mar­ket­ing? No way. Will you ever be dis­ap­point­ed that you have less debt and more cash on hand? Def­i­nite­ly not.

Keep going, con­trac­tors. You’ve got this. 

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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