Many of us have experienced it - slow production periods. We have all had our share of times when little or no work is coming in or products are being bought. Yet the bills roll in like tumbleweed.
Regardless of how long you have been in business, you are bound to experience a business drought at some time or another. If we could all have the multitude rushing in to purchase our product or service without ceasing, it would make business so much easier and, no doubt, cash flow a lot better. The fact is, slow periods are a part of business whether we like it or not.
So what do we do when the tide goes out? The question is what do we do when the tide is in? When times are great and those customers are beating your door down, you should continue to market. Not marketing consistently during the flourishing times can cause great devastation to your business. Here are some things to do while business is great:
1. Take an hour (maybe twice a month) to review your business plan. (If you don't have one, make this your first priority.) Your business plan will remind you what your goals are and how you planned to meet those goals.
2. Take one day per quarter to send your customer a thank you. This is a great marketing strategy. It lets your customers know that you appreciate them while reminding them that you are available to serve them. You will find that your customers will look forward to a note from you and even call if you forget to send one.
3. Send a promotional postcard to your current/former customers. One thing that bugs customers is when a business goes above and beyond the to get their business but offers no incentives when they become a customer. Use promotions and specials to keep your customers coming back.
4. Take a few hours per month to focus on prospecting. When things are really busy, the best time to do this is in the evenings or even on the weekends. It may even be worthwhile to recruit your high school neighbor or that teen looking for an after school job to gather names and prospects for you. This way you will always have irons burning in the fire as you tend to your core competencies.
5. Begin a referral campaign. Referrals have proven to be the best means of obtaining new business. Start a campaign offering existing customers a free gift or discount for referring someone they know.
6. Tweak your website. Or have your webmaster assist with new ideas to give your web page a new look. Many businesses change the look of their web page each quarter or season. It keeps the visitors coming back to see what's new.
7. Network with others. Join an association that offers support in your industry. The ideas and suggestions of colleagues in your industry can provide a wealth of information to keep you encouraged.
By following these simple steps through even in peak production periods, you will experience great rewards during slower times.
Copyright 2002, OnDemand Secretarial Solutions Inc. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted without written consent.
Dawn Mayo is the owner of OnDemand Secretarial Solutions Inc., A Virtual Assistant organization. Please contact her on the web at http://www.yourremoteoffice.com or by email at [email protected]