Growing Your Business In Tough Times
Congratulations. If your business is still thriving through this economy – you have a lot to be proud of. A slow growing economy, over nice percent unemployment, the value of the dollar dropping, and political gridlock in our government is enough to take the wind right out of your sails. Just turning on the nightly news can make you not want to get out of bed in the morning – but don’t let it get you down. Remember, you’ve done something right to get this far, now it’s time to focus on how you can actually grow.
So you’ve reduced your labor force as much as possible, cut every unnecessary cost conceivable, and have even taken on a larger work load yourself. You can’t save profits by making your business run any tighter, so it’s time to make it grow. You’ll have to crawl out of your comfort shell to make it happen though.
Here are a few ideas, some old some new, that might help your business grow.
Network marketing – It’s the no cost way to advertise. Yes you’ll have to join a business group, get up early, talk to people you don’t know, but real business can come from this effort if you really get involved. You’ll also feel god because you will be helping other business’ as well.
The 2 for 1 plan – run a special in targeted areas or through your customer list offering a two for 1 deal – if scheduled on the same day, on the same street, you’ll give each customer half off their bill if they schedule a cleaning with one of their neighbors. It will actually be cost effective and could drive new business your way.
Seek supplier agreements – Talk to your suppliers about additional discounts if you commit all of your purchasing dollars to their company. They may be more receptive than you think. They’re working hard to keep the lights on as well. Don’t think it will work because they are already getting your business? Remind them of your loyalty, talk to them about your situation. Remember, keeping good customers through a little extra discount costs a lot less for them than replacing one they’ve lost.
Team up with a non-competing service – If you can find another ethical company that can understand the benefit in cross promoting each others services, pursue it. You’ll both increase your potential customer base without mailing one postcard. Make sure their business model matches your own for the best results.
Create a customer loyalty program – Don’t forget that it is much more expensive to get a new customer than to keep existing ones. Send out a letter or an e-mail (hopefully you are keeping a customer list) and let them know that their past business is remembered and appreciated. Offer a discount when they schedule your service next time. It will keep you on their minds and may spur some to give you a call sooner than they might have before.
Look for additional services – Keep your eyes open for other needs your customers may have that are not being fulfilled, it just may be something you can begin offering within your company.
Keep in mind, there are business’ that are growing even in this economy. You will have to get creative, try something new, and seek inexpensive ways of reaching those customers that are still out there and need your service. Most of all, stay mentally positive. As hard as it may be sometimes, our customers still respond favorably to energetic and confident individuals.
All the best.