Has your business slowed because of the economy? If so, you’ve got two options. Keep doing what you’ve always done and hope it turns around on its own…Or, do something different.
Clearly, it makes more sense to try doing something different versus doing the same thing and hoping to get different results (Because that’s the definition of insanity, right?!?). The first way you’re in control of your destiny, and the other you’re future success or failure is largely out of your control.
If, like me, you’d rather take control and make things happen good for you! Because there is quite a lot you can do—in any economy—to make your small business more successful. Below I list a number of different ideas you can use to change your business for the better.
However, before you make any major changes, you might want to know why people aren’t buying from you right now…
- Is it because what you offer is now too expensive?
- Are you selling something that is perceived as a luxury instead of a necessity?
- Do people simply not know you exist, or not understand what it is you’re selling and why they would want to buy? (Hint: If you do very little marketing and rely mostly on word of mouth and referrals, this is likely one of your problems).
Once you know the answer to this question, it’s much easier to make good decisions moving forward. Because the last thing you want to do is come out with something new that no one wants or buys for one of these reasons.
Okay, now that you have an idea of why your prospects aren’t buying from you right now, it’s time to come up with some new ways to grow your business.
Change what you offer. And be sure you’re offering products and/or services at different price points. Often, the person who buys an inexpensive item from you—and likes it—will come back later ready and willing to spend more. That is as long as you provide tons of value in everything you do.
If you only do consulting, consider launching a group coaching program, or doing a workshop. These let you charge less and help more people at the same time. Plus, you can actually make more money with less effort once you have your new program up and running.
Or try offering a membership program where clients pre-purchase services at a discount, or pay a monthly fee for access to you. These reduce the up front costs to your clients, again making you more affordable. They also help you even out your cash flow since you’re not always doing the work then waiting to get paid on the back end.
If you sell products, maybe there are multiple products you can bundle into packages. Or packages you can split into single items.
Would you buy a book on Internet marketing from your bookkeeper? Probably not. If you were a bookkeeper, would you pay more for a seminar on how to use Internet marketing to grow your bookkeeping business, or one on marketing in general?
If you’re trying to go after too large a market, you are likely missing out on a lot of sales. These days especially people want a specialist, expert, or the exact solution for them. And they’re willing to pay more to get them.
Find yourself a niche or two to focus on so you can speak directly to them in a way that really resonates. Often you can repurpose products or services you already have to speak to a specific idea or target market (Chicken Soup for the Soul now has books for everyone from Moms to fishermen).
Everyone is different—especially when it comes to learning styles. Some people like to read, others want to listen, or watch, or participate. So it’s best to offer your products or services in as many different formats as possible. Never assume your audience only wants your materials delivered one way.
For example, you can take an article you’ve written, record it as an audio podcast, shoot a short video about it, and offer a workshop on the subject too. Or combine a workshop with a product.
While I know this can sound like a lot of work up front, if business is slow you have time, right. And it’s much easier to do this than launch a new business from scratch if your current one goes under.
Besides, once you start diversifying it’s actually a lot of fun. And it’s even more fun when you realize you’re helping more people and your business—and bank account—is growing as a result!
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