Learn how to eleminate your accounts receivable and spend more time improving your clients lives with these helpful tips from BQE.
Maintain a Thriving Firm During Uncertain Economic Times: Webinar Highlights
BQE recently held a webinar with three business professionals that offered their advice on weathering a recession. Here are a few of their top tips.
BQE Software recently hosted a webinar titled "Recession Roundtable: Maintain a Thriving Firm During Uncertain Economic Times," which featured insightful interviews with June R. Jewell, CPA, President of AEC Business Solutions, Anthony Fasano, President & CEO of Engineering Management Institute, and Douglas Teiger, FAIA Founder of Teiger Consulting.
During this hour-long discussion, the experts tackled several crucial topics, including how to analyze the constantly changing economic conditions, winning and retaining the right clients and talent during uncertain economic times, and lessons learned from past economic downturns.
The panel also discussed how automating tasks such as time and expense tracking, project management, and billing can help firms to optimize their workflow and focus on completing projects and getting paid when good help is hard to find.
If you want to learn more from these experts, including additional tips and advice, make sure to view the full webinar on demand.
The following are a few highlights from the live webinar:
Take advantage of slower times to make your firm stronger from the inside
Recessions can be a difficult time for many businesses, as consumer spending tends to decrease, and the economic climate can become uncertain. However, there are ways that firms can use this slow time to their advantage.
By taking advantage of the lull in work, businesses can strengthen their teams and build a better firm.
Here are few ways that companies can use the slow time during a recession to build a better firm and team:
Revisit your business plan: During a slow time, it's a good idea to revisit your business plan and determine if any changes need to be made. Consider your company's strengths and weaknesses and evaluate what you can do to improve your business. This can be an opportunity to re-evaluate your marketing strategy or make changes to your product or service offerings.
Invest in training: During a slow time, team members may have extra time to devote to training and development. Consider offering training programs to help employees improve their skills or learn new ones. This can include everything from technical training to leadership development programs. The stronger your employees are, the better off your firm will be coming out of a recession.
Evaluate your company culture: Recessions can be stressful, and it's important to ensure that your company culture is positive and supportive. Take the time to evaluate your company culture and determine if any changes need to be made. This can include everything from implementing wellness programs to improving work-life balance. When you have a strong company culture, your employees are happier and feel more involved leading to higher employee retention. The last thing you want to do during a recession is spend money and resources hiring new employees and waste time with their role and duties sitting unfulfilled.
Build relationships with customers: During a recession, it's important to focus on building strong relationships with your customers. Take the time to reach out to your customers and show them that you value their business. This can be as simple as sending a thank-you note or offering a discount on future services.
Focus on innovation: Recessions can be a time of uncertainty, but they can also be a time of innovation. Consider investing in new technology to streamline processes and improve efficiency to help your firm stay competitive in a difficult market.
Improve your online presence: With more people working from home, it's important to have a strong online presence. Take the time to improve your website and social media channels and consider investing in online advertising to reach a wider audience.
For more information on how to prepare for a recession, view our blogs How to Prepare a Smart Business Strategy During a Recession and The 11-Step Strategy to Recession-Proof Your Firm.
Stand out from the crowd with a credible social media platform
Social media can be a powerful tool for your firm, particularly on LinkedIn. Think of it as a free way to attract new clients while money may be tight. To ensure your content is seen though, it's important to connect with a wide range of people, including current clients, past clients, and potential clients.
If you have a limited number of connections, your content may go unnoticed, so it's crucial to build up your followers on LinkedIn.
To establish your company's credibility, take the time to review and update all employees' LinkedIn profiles. A polished and professional online presence can impress clients and build trust in your brand.
Keep in mind that clients often research companies before doing business with them. This is especially true during a recession when everyone wants to ensure they’re not wasting any money. You need to assume potential clients will check out you and your team's social media profiles.
By creating a strong online presence, you can leave a lasting impression and attract more potential clients.
Create a culture of trust by sharing KPIs
In today's business world, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) have become an essential tool for measuring and evaluating a company's performance. KPIs provide valuable insights into a company's performance, highlighting areas of success and areas that need improvement.
While KPIs are commonly used to measure and report on a company's performance to external stakeholders such as investors and customers, they are also an important tool for internal communication and can be used to motivate and engage employees, even when times are tough.
Sharing your KPIs with your employees, especially during a recession, helps to:
Clarify Expectations: By setting clear targets and goals, you help your employees to focus their efforts on the areas that matter most to your firm.
Create Accountability: When employees are aware of the company's KPIs, they can see how their individual performance contributes to the overall success of the business. This creates a sense of accountability and can motivate employees to work harder to achieve their goals.
Increase Engagement: Employees who are aware of the company's KPIs are more likely to be engaged and motivated to achieve them. They can see how their individual efforts contribute to the success of the business, which can be a powerful motivator.
Encourage Teamwork: When employees understand the company's KPIs, they can work together more effectively to achieve them. This can help to foster a sense of teamwork and collaboration within the organization.
Enable Better Decision Making: Sharing KPIs with employees can help them to understand the business better and make more informed decisions. By knowing what metrics are important to the firm, employees can make decisions that align with the company's goals and objectives.
Foster Transparency: This can help to build trust and confidence in management and can create a more positive work environment.
It’s always up to you what you want to share with your team. However, sharing KPIs with your employees can be a powerful tool for improving communication, engagement, and motivation within your firm.
By setting clear expectations, creating accountability, encouraging teamwork, enabling better decision making, and fostering transparency, you can create a culture of success that drives the business forward in a time when there is so much uncertainty.
Know your client’s goals for a project, not just your goals for a project
In times of economic downturn, competition for work becomes fierce. It's more critical than ever to increase your value both within your firm and to your clients.
Do you understand your clients' business goals? It's essential to have this knowledge and be prepared to discuss it meaningfully with your clients. Simply stating that you create beautiful projects is not enough. You must demonstrate your value in a way that resonates with your client's needs.
One way to showcase your value is through your website.
As an architect, for example, your website should not just display your past projects, no matter how impressive they are. Instead, it should include case studies and examples of how you solved problems for your clients.
For instance, if you designed a hospital, explain how you incorporated the client's specific goals and needs into your work. By sharing real-life examples of how you’ve solved problems for clients, you demonstrate your value upfront and establish yourself as a credible and effective problem solver.
Many professionals make the mistake of not understanding their clients' businesses well enough. To set yourself apart from other firms, take the time to understand your clients' problems, consider alternatives to solve them, and ultimately present an effective solution.
By leading with your client's needs and demonstrating a clear understanding of their business goals, you can differentiate yourself and provide unique value to your clients that will make you stand out from competitors during a very competitive time.
Research New Technology
Investing in technology can be a significant expense for any firm, and it can be challenging to justify this cost during an economic downturn. However, with careful planning and a strategic approach, it’s possible to allocate resources to technology effectively.
During times of economic growth, firms often focus on day-to-day operations and have little time to research and implement new technology tools. However, during slower periods, firms can invest in new technology and learn how to use it to improve their operations further.
Technology is continually evolving, and new software options are being introduced all the time. While it can be tempting to stick with familiar software solutions, newer options are often designed to be more efficient, user-friendly, and provide advanced features and capabilities that can enhance the customer experience.
By adopting new technology, businesses can increase their efficiency, save time and resources, and provide a better experience for their clients. By researching and evaluating new software options, you can identify solutions that are right for your firm and help you achieve your goals more effectively.
It's essential to stay ahead of the times by monitoring new software options continually. By doing so, you can ensure that you are utilizing the latest tools to remain competitive and successful, even during economic downturns.
Remember, the key is to stash some cash during good times to invest in technology during slow times.
Take Advantage of Automation
In today's digital age, automation has become a crucial tool for businesses to overcome challenges such as declining sales, decreased cash flow, and cost-cutting measures during a recession. By implementing automation, businesses can continue to thrive and succeed even during tough economic times.
Here are some of the ways that automation can help businesses during a recession:
Cost Savings: By automating tasks that are typically performed by humans, businesses can save on costs associated with labor. An automated firm management platform can help businesses achieve this by streamlining repetitive and time-consuming tasks.
Improved Customer Experience: By using AI-powered personalization tools, businesses can offer tailored recommendations and promotions to customers, thereby improving their shopping experience. Additionally, businesses can use AI-powered chatbots to provide 24/7 customer service, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Enhanced Decision Making: With AI technology, businesses can make informed decisions during a recession. AI-powered analytics can identify trends and patterns in customer behavior, sales data, and other business metrics. This information can help businesses to make informed decisions about inventory, pricing, and marketing strategies.
Increased Efficiency: By automating manual tasks, such as data entry and report generation, businesses can increase efficiency and productivity. This allows employees to focus on more important tasks, such as projects, sales, and customer service.
Scalability: Automation tools can help businesses to automate marketing campaigns, allowing them to reach a larger audience without increasing their marketing budget. Additionally, businesses can use AI-powered analytics to identify areas of their business that are underperforming and make changes to improve performance.
Overall, automation is a beneficial tool for businesses during a recession. It can help businesses to reduce costs, improve customer experience, enhance decision-making, increase efficiency, and scale their operations. By embracing automation, businesses can adapt and thrive in a changing economic climate.
Plan Ahead for Success During an Economic Downturn
Here are three crucial points we gathered from the webinar:
To stand out from your competitors, it's essential to understand your clients' objectives and highlight your value to them.
In times of economic downturn, businesses can take advantage of the slowdown to strengthen their firm and team.
Automation is a valuable investment for cost savings and enhancing overall efficiency
Stay Profitable During a Recession with BQE CORE
When you invest in the right tools and automated platform for your firm, you get a real-time view into your data so you can quickly make decisions and never feel surprised by the numbers. You have the tools you need to automate your workload and make your projects better and faster than ever before. You also give your employees access to software that enables them to do their job better than ever and not feel left frustrated with time-consuming manual work or software they just don’t enjoy using.
Try a free demo of BQE CORE today to see how our firm management software can help you take control of your back-office operations and improve your overall project profitability even during an economic downturn.