Sales, advertising and marketing are early targets for entrepreneurs navigating recession. And it's not a bad time to trim efforts to sell to marginal accounts. Take a fresh look at existing customers and new markets to winnow out the least profitable and reliable. "You shouldn't have all your eggs in one basket, but you can have more eggs in the baskets you have the most confidence in," says Hoffman.
Also, focus on finding quick sales rather than long-term marketing. "You want orders," says Kinnear. "[Don't] waste time at trade shows where people aren't buying anything at the moment."
Another approach is to ramp up sales efforts. As customers for Lok's marketing newsletters become coy, he feels he has to pursue them more energetically. "If I'd traditionally mail 25,000 direct-mail pieces, I'll send out 30,000 this year hoping to get the same total response," he says.
Now that competitors may be marketing less, you also have a chance to grab market share. Says Norm Stoehr, founder and CEO of Inner Circle International Ltd., a Minneapolis-based organizer of entrepreneur peer groups, "Everyone else is in a fetal position, waiting for the recession to play itself out. Now is the time for the bold ones to step forward."