Behind every cloud, there is a silver lining. Really.
Even the past 12 months have lent themselves to a positive strategy shift in today’s business environment. Before the economic shift in 2008, many of NAWBO’s members had relied on one or two large clients to provide 50 percent or more of their revenue. They knew they needed to increase market share, but their comfort level with current revenues often negated a sense of urgency. Unfortunately, when the economy hit faltered, those larger clients scaled back. Even making reductions in overhead couldn’t account for the huge revenue losses; and companies began increasing their debt to stay alive.
The silver lining in this scenario is that the reduction in larger orders forced many businesses to, instead, increase their number of smaller customers. These weren’t necessarily smaller companies; many were Fortune 500 firms, just with smaller projects or orders. This marketing strategy shift was designed to reach more customers, so when the economy began to shift for the better, our members’ companies would be already in the “new” doors to reap the increases to come. The result has created stronger NAWBO members, with less reliance on one or two sources of revenue.
The same scenario holds true for the NAWBO organization itself. Over the past year, our organization’s sponsorships have increased in scope; while holding firm in revenues. NAWBO’s sponsors, affiliate partners and members now represent a broader reach across industries, company sizes, age groups and sponsorship packages. While NAWBO has increased our value proposition internally to attract a broader membership, we have also attracted an increase in sponsors, across the board. For our members, that means a wider range of affiliate advantages, formidable financial resources to increase NAWBO’s influence and reach, and a greater member diversity.
As is true with the companies we represent, the economic turnaround for NAWBO, itself, will see these new relationships grow. While the lesson in this marketing shift wasn’t easy; it has made NAWBO, and our member businesses, stronger and better. The economic turn is clearly at the bend; when it makes the turn, NAWBO and many of our members will be ready to reap the rewards.
—Helen Han, NAWBO President and CEO