Innovation

How to Beat the Recession: Doug Kerr

Tried and true strategies from entrepreneurs who've been there, fought back and won

Written by Chris Atchison and Susanne Ruder

DOUG KERR

Founder and CEO of Vancouver-based Kerr Construction

BEAT THE 1990s BUILDING SLUMPS

DEVELOP REPEAT CLIENTELE WITH SUPERIOR SERVICE

Kerr survived the slow B.C. building markets of the early and late 1990s by surveying consumers’ wants and needs, then doubling his sales and marketing budget to promote his services with weekly mailouts. During slow times, Kerr found that three-quarters of his business came from existing clients, so he “serviced the heck” out of them to earn repeat business. Positive word of mouth soon spreads when you return calls quickly and have clean, professional job sites, trustworthy workers and reliable warranty servicing, he says.

These tactics allowed Kerr Construction to post annual growth rates of 20% in the early 1990s and 25% at the end of the decade, while its competitors foundered, or, in some cases, went out of business. “It didn’t really matter what the economy was doing,” says Kerr. “It was what I did that made a difference.”

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Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com