Every Membership Manager knows the struggles of many of their small business members on Main Street since the Wall Street driven financial crisis. How can your association, franchise or client services organization provide the right membership services support with the new trends this coming decade?
Reality vs. The Media Spin
It’s vital that Membership Managers meet their members on Main Street where the small business growth indicators really are. Before finalizing your membership services consider these national spending and credit indicators*:
- Unemployment levels remain at historic post recession highs. The real number ranges around 23 million Americans.
- Approximately 67% of U.S. consumers have less than prime credit scores.
- Approximately 50% of small business loans are rejected.
No matter the political season and media spin membership services should be based on accurate longer term trends. With the economy showing slow positive direction the time is now for forward thinking Membership Managers to consider the right set of membership services.
There are important long-term shifts taking place that every Membership Manager should be keenly aware of.
Slow Growth Decade
Every Membership Manager understands that this has been no “normal” business cycle recession we are slowly coming out of. After nearly 3 years of below average growth, it is now much easier to see why we are all rebounding really from a historic financial crisis.
The media rarely distinguishes between the two. How many Associations consider the difference? The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the global average recovery period of a western style financial crisis (e.g., Japan) is 10 years.
Membership Managers who understand this difference can design a leading edge into their membership services.
The New Customer Dynamic
Before a Membership Manager finalizes their membership services it is vital to see the marked consumer attitude trends. Consider the reality of a fading American Dream for millions of American families:
- Heavily indebted college graduates.
- Current homeowners who have minimal home equity or are upside down in their mortgage.
- Empty nesters with significantly delayed retirement goals.
Several studies confirm key attitude shifts changed well before the crisis.
How effectively do your current membership services provide practical help to succeed with these new customer centered values?
Don’t neglect membership services for those focused on commercial or government sectors.
Large shifts are occurring due to several factors. Notably, slow economic growth and unprecedented public debt levels are constraining spending growth in these important markets.
Membership Managers need to weigh these non-consumer spending trends in differentiating their membership services and the design of their membership packages.
In Debt We Trust
Most Membership Managers can recall by name many of their members who didn’t survive the first waves from the 2008 financial crisis. Along with those that are currently struggling they likely share one common characteristic – too much debt.
What if they had a different set of supporting membership services to deal with debt elimination through their association’s small business packages?
One of the profound keys to entrepreneurial success the coming decade will be a completely different view of the use of debt. Progressive Membership Managers will be well equipped with a deeper understanding of this vital question…
Is Debt More of a Tool or a Risk?
Cash Flow is King
Leading membership services should include cash flow management support. Membership Managers hear constantly that flatter sales growth pose real challenges for their members.
Along with rising costs the pressure on consistent monthly cash flow is higher than ever for profitable small businesses. Because of the large shifts in their primary markets it is not unusual to see a typical smaller business experience 20-30% less sales revenue compared to pre-crisis levels.
The lifeblood of any small business enterprise – cash flow – is vital to help them move from surviving to thriving. Membership Managers who help their members maximize monthly cash flow will be viewed more as business partners.
Consider how to support smart growth in the membership services you offer. Leading small business packages help owners answer…
- Should we focus on growing more sales to the same customers or growing new sales to new customers?
- What new products or services should we add?
Many associations offer exceptional industry expertise through their membership services and small business packages. Membership Managers who can help their members with guidance can help their Association’s small business packages stand out as a valued resource.
For Membership Managers committed to excellence in membership services and smart design of their small business packages are well served to ask…
- How well am I helping my small business members stay true to their mission and core strengths while increasing new revenue sources and vital cash flow?
- How well is our Association’s membership services and small business packages helping our members succeed with a changed consumer mindset?
- How do our members and clients perceive our overall value in our membership services and small business packages?
Membership Managers who weigh these important trends will be able to serve their members well with the best small business packages.
*Federal Reserve and Bureau of Labor Statistics