Speakers – Are you having a good year?
Having a good year? Hit by the recession? How will Brexit affect your business?
[bctt tweet=”Having a good year? Hit by the recession? How will Brexit affect your business?” username=”richardmulvey”]
Those of us who get together regularly at speaker meetings, airports, mastermind groups or at the back of the hall will know this question well. “Hi Peter, (or Fred or Gill) you busy?” The answer is usually something like “Gee, it’s hectic. Had to turn down a gig last week, just don’t have the time to do it all.” Sound Familiar? We love to tell each other how successful we are.
Once you dig a little deeper, however, you are more likely to discover the truth. Let’s be honest, for most of us this has been a difficult year. There are far more speakers competing for less work and this drives the price down. Worse than that, our customers are under pressure as well so there are less conferences, less training and less consulting. Of course there are many speakers out there who are truly busy and they probably always will be but for the rest of us it is a difficult year.
Those of us who were in the industry in 2007 will remember that speakers around the world were saying the same thing. The recession didn’t really hit until 2008 but we felt it first. All the signs are that we are about to get into the same situation now. I remember many of my speaker friends having to get a “proper job” in 2008-9 because they could not put food on the table for the kids and many speakers lost the big house and fancy car for more economical models (I was one of them)
Actually I think we need to prepare for it being worse this time. In 2008 there was a lot of fat in most industries. Companies were able to ride the recession by cutting costs and becoming more economical but there is only so far you can go with this model and they have cut as much as is possible. The Brexit vote has also caused a great deal of confusion. Who knows what is going to happen to business in Europe and how will that effect the rest of the world? All we do know is that the financial spin off from Brexit is considerable.
We can’t stop the recession but we can take action now that will lessen the effect in our own businesses. If you continue to do the same things in a recession you do not get the same results, the results will decline and decline dramatically if you are not careful. We should be taking action now to protect our businesses.
1. Focus on the customer
This has always been true and it becomes more important when the customers have a different set of priorities. In a recession the first things to be cut are the conference and training budgets (okay, new buildings as well but that is not our industry). Clients will still need training but we need to find more cost effective ways of training their teams
2. Improve your negotiation skills
It’s no good just giving the price you normally charge and wait for a reply. Speak to the client. Find out what his budget is and how you can fit in. What can you do to make your contribution to the customer more cost effective without lowering the price. Perhaps you can add a copy of your book for each delegate. Perhaps you can offer a further workshop or break away session. You will be in town anyway. Find some way to trade things that the client will perceive as high value for your normal fee.
3. Think about getting your powerful message across in other formats.
Much of my work nowadays is recreating my material into more effective ways of delivery. The traditional way of doing that is to write more books, create DVDs and downloadable products. DVD sales around the world saved my business in the last recession but Micro-Learning is the buzz word in training nowadays.
4. Monetise your IP
This is probably a post on it’s own but our job is to continually expand our understanding in the field we have chosen and then deliver that Intellectual Property to our audiences for a fee. That audience can be live, or more commonly now, a virtually audience. The method of delivery can easily be Books, CDs, DVDs, MP3s, MP4s, Downloadable, Webinars, Virtual meetings, Radio programs (Local, National or Internet), YouTube, Micro-Learning, TV, One-on-one Skype coaching, the list goes on and on.
5. Cut your costs now
Most of us are positive people and expect it to be better next year. There is no doubt, however, that there is another recession coming so now is the time to cut those costs. Delay the purchase of that new Mercedes, new house or trip to Disneyland with the children.
I would love to hear your ideas on how you are going to continue to make a good living from this industry in the coming recession
Good luck with it all