IStock_000003307226XSmall We have all seen effects in our respective lives since it was officially released in December 2008 regarding the downturn in the economy.  I know that several of my speaker colleagues through the National Speakers Association noticed a drop in speaking engagements and revenues.  Some acquaintances have lost their jobs at major companies and are still looking for work.  When change happens, people must adapt to the new landscape.  Sometimes it means taking a new direction. 

I recently noticed with 1000 Cranes that the last two years have seen a shift in clients from ones that want comprehensive strategic planning engagements to those who want cursory approaches, scaling back, as you will, the amount of analysis and introspection. 

On the other hand, there has been a large increase in the demand for seminars and workshops in the education vertical.  1000 Cranes secured adjunct professor engagements at both National University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  All of the education clients continue to ask for help as more and more people are looking at attending college courses and seminars during this down economy.

Lastly, 1000 Cranes is noticing an increase in engagements related to diversity training and education.  1000 Cranes did some work with Alignment Strategies as a subcontractor working with the Lockheed Martin account, and now we will be working with Prudential directly.  With both of these organizations, it took time to cultivate those relationships.  Sometimes it may take months or years before an assignment comes from initial contact with the customer.  Knowing this dynamic that engagements take longer to cultivate, it's helpful to do the following:

  1. Re-evaluate your current customer base and determine if the sales of your services and products are changing.   If there is a new market, how can you adjust to that market and maintain the integrity of your brand? 
  2. If an area is growing, identify customers that can also utilize your services.  Build on your strengths.
  3. Build your reference customer base, and utilize these references for key work.
  4. Continuously reach out to various members of your network.  If you've met prospects several years ago, it doesn't hurt to reach out again now.  Build a strategy to find a way to keep up with your customers. 

Have you looked at your current business model and what needs to change to make it better?

What skill sets will you need to develop to adapt to a changing market?

How often are you communicating with people you met at networking events?  How can you increase the frequency of those interactions?