Tips for Business Growth and Expense Reduction
By Dave Taylor
"The Great Depression." "The Worst Recession in our Lifetime!" It's hopeless - what can you do?
As a business owner or manager, it really depends on where you place your focus, because it turns out there is a lot you can do. Here are five things you can do right now to start to change things for your company.
#1 - "Give better Service - and remember the ‘little things'."
The little things aren't so little - especially when customers are looking for reasons to cut back on doing business with you. What can you do to distinguish your business from your competition? Start with the easiest ones - get creative!
One restaurant owner changed how she presented receipts to her customers. Instead of those old, dirty black plastic folders or trays, she gave presented the bill in an ornamental box, or sometimes in a music box. This set her apart in her customers' eyes and made them feel special.
#2 - Expand Your Advertising and Marketing
Your competition is feeling just as worried and scared, and they are thinking about what they can cut in order to survive. Don't make the same mistake!
Talk to your advertising companies and negotiate! Can you get a better rate for your campaigns? Can you get even deeper discounts by making a bigger commitment - 12 month contract instead of 6? What about creating a "pay-for-performance" option, where you share some of the benefits of your increased exposure and sales?
You can't step away from the Market in tough times. You can't cut your way to Profitability. You have to GROW your way out of this problem.
#3 - Get More Creative With Pricing
Price things lower for special demographic groups - Senior Citizens, Children, or any other group from which you want to attract business.
One children's clothing store owner took this approach and offered a 10% discount to grandparents every Wednesday. The net effect? She increased her sales during the promotion by 20% over the rest of her weekday sales, for a net increase of 10%!
#4 - Partner For Profits
One hotel owner put together a self-guided walking tour of their city - that ended right at the doorstep of their hotel! But the tour took participants past many restaurants, stores and other hotels in the local area, giving tour participants a better feel for the city. Since many different businesses were included, other businesses did not view the tour as a threat, and everyone distributed the guide.
#5 - Rewarded For Referrals - Help Your Business Grow By Helping Others - And Yourself!
One of the great reasons to partner with other companies is to offer complimentary products or services to a broader customer base. For example, by combining two destinations, and adding a few local restaurants, a day spa owner and a bed-and-breakfast owner partnered to turn an "extravagance" that people cut back on in tough times, into something that can be used as a local, "mini vacation".
Even though it may feel like it, tough times never last. These won't either. NOW is the time to re-trench and re-focus your business. It's time to grow while you watch your competition go - because they are not willing to do the things that you do. Get creative and get inspired! Use a slow time in your business to your advantage, so you will be better prepared for the busier times ahead!
About the Author:
Dave Taylor has been involved with the Internet since 1980 and is internationally known as an expert on both business and technology issues. Holder of an MSEd and MBA, author of twenty books and founder of four startups, he also runs a strategic marketing company and consults with firms seeking the best approach to working with weblogs and social networks. Dave is an award-winning speaker and frequent guest on radio and podcast programs. AskDaveTaylor.com http://www.intuitive.com/blog/
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