Recession-Proof Your Computer Consulting Business

It’s true that economic recessions result in downsizing and poor consumer spending in practically every major market. As the economy tumbles, it can seem daunting to take risks in business, especially when all you hear about in the news is how businesses are closing up and money is scarce.

But don’t believe everything you hear! The truth is, poor economic conditions are the BEST time for small business owners and start-ups to get in on the game and leapfrog their competition! While huge corporations are stuck with mind-boggling overhead and klunky business models to manage, fresh start-ups use nimble business strategies and innovation to become the next big thing in their industry.

The same is true for the computer consulting industry. If you implement frugal operating practices and aggressively innovate, you can outgrow your competition and end up in a better position when times are good.

The key is to ‘recession-proof’ your business. When it comes to computer consulting, there are 4 important steps to take to stabilize your income and build predictable wealth and market dominance.

Here Are 4 Steps You Can Put In Action Today:

1. Focus on accessibility. Successful companies are moving their focus away from making their products more sophisticated, and are instead focusing on adding more value and affordability. In a down economy, people are looking to either save money or get MORE for their money. It’s no coincidence that inexpensive netbooks are outselling their more expensive competitors. Study the graph to the right to learn more about 3 important movements that are going on right now in the computer consulting industry. Companies are adding more value to inexpensive products and reducing the price on their premium products. This is putting pressure on the middle market and squeezing them out of their market share.

So start thinking of ways you can add more value to your product while keeping your prices affordable to people with a tight income. You could bundle your services together, offer free upgrades, provide flat rate pricing (instead of hourly fees), etc. Making your computer consulting more affordable to low-income families will allow you to jump into an untapped market and dominate. Plus, if you build a loyal client following now with this low-income market, just imagine how profitable they will be when the economy picks up, they start making more money, and go to you for all their computer work!

2. Establish recurring income. The single fastest way to ‘recession-proof’ your computer consulting business is to capture reliable, recurring revenue streams to sure up your expenses and save you when business is slow. The easiest way to do this is to take your existing services and package them into proactive monthly maintenance plans. Managed services is a cash cow market, as is emerging cloud computing opportunities. Start looking into these markets and put together a monthly plan of your own that you could offer small businesses and home users in your area. Clients will contract to pay you monthly for unlimited support, scheduled backups and audits, and included upgrades. It’s a win-win because it guarantees you business (even if your client’s systems are healthy) and it gives your clients peace of mind that they never have to worry about their system going down or a catastrophe occurring that could have been prevented.

If you also provide web design (which some computer consultants do), web hosting and online email marketing software plans are a great way to establish recurring monthly income.

3. Go lean. To grow your business and build market share you have to be a lean, mean operating machine. That means cutting corners with expenses as much as you can. Make sure you are documenting EVERY PENNY you are spending on your business. You’ll find things like eating out, going over on your cell phone minutes, printing on paper when you could go digital, and wasting unnecessary electricity can all add up to a dollar amount that could ultimately break you. Imagine what you could do with an extra $400/month in advertising to get new clients. Do that every month for 2 years and you are talking about tens of thousands of dollars in extra business (not including the word-of-mouth these new clients will generate for you). Positive growth happens exponentially.

4. Learn to multiply by dividing. Most computer consultants are one-man-bands, but the fastest way to more money is to partner strategically. If you take a small slice of a much bigger pie you’ll make out in the end. It’s very easy to partner strategically with other companies when the economy is tight, because everyone is hungry for new money-making opportunities. Don’t be afraid to work together with someone locally. When you help others make money, you make money too!

The bottom line is

Successful companies know that the best time to get ahead is to innovate when their competition is tightening their belts and closing their wallets. Now is the time to think creatively and act on it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.