In today’s economic landscape, it’s important to seek out and leverage every opportunity possible to keep your business thriving – below are a few helpful tips to help get that thought process started.
- Talk to your major customers face to face; make sure you know the CEO as well as the person you’re actually doing business with.
- Make attempts to add services, add value to your product or service.
- Focus on what’s made you prosperous in the past.
- Communicate with your customers over any necessity of rising prices (due to rising fuel prices, steel, etc.)
- Consider making better use of under utilized employees.
- Rebid all contractual services.
- Meet with vendors to anticipate any cost increases.
- Meet with your banker to determine if there’s any way to reduce loan carrying costs.
- Make sure you take advantage of Section 179 Expense Deduction (you can now take up to a $250,000 deduction for qualified purchases of equipment).
- Re-establish quantifiable objectives.
- Hold everyone accountable.
- Don’t lose focus on must-do’s.
- Encourage employees to be totally committed to the business during this trying time. Every business is not going to make it.
- Control expenses: travel less, maybe even share hotel rooms.
- Quit selling to manipulate; instead, replace with helping.
- Take full advantage of your many Chamber membership services.
- Make sure the marketplace clearly understands what your company stands for.
- Social Marketing is free – research sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and other social sites and find the ones that are right for your business
- SEO – search engine optimization – make sure your site is easily “findable” through key search words
- Blogs – write a blog and showcase your expertise. Or contribute to other blogs that appeal to your target market as an industry expert
- Network – “word of mouth” doesn’t happen by itself; you’ve got to work to get people talking about your business. Join associations, attend holiday parties, participate in your community and hand out your cards whenever you have the opportunity
- Customer Loyalty Programs – reward customers who do business with you often with discounts and perks to keep them coming back for more
- Non-traditional Advertising – take advantage of marketing benefits you receive for free from associations you belong to; advertise in local newsletters, church flyers, condo associations, etc.
- Sampling – one of the easiest and least expensive ways to get your product or brand into the hands of your target market
Snow Recovery Suggestions for Retailers
- Blizzard sale! Winter clearance sale! Take some significant mark downs on overstocks. Below cost if necessary. Create some cash flow. Buy one get one free. Free gift with purchase.
- Sale banners in the windows – take some items 70% off – have the banner say, “up to 70% off”
- Email customer list about super sale items- email them your sale flyer
- Create flyers with details about the sale items- hand them out to customers as they enter the store, see if restaurants might let you leave flyers with them, college bulletin boards, at the skating rink, etc.
- Promote any special services they offer – free gift wrap – free shipping
- Spend $100 take an additional 20% off
- Activity breeds activity- move the store around – create sale areas in the store- stack them up- let them fly
- Negotiate with vendors, lenders and landlords – let them know if you need help