Many businesses are in an awful rut these days. That's because they don't know what steps to take to tap into what I call "the secret wealth of a bad economy." There's much more economic activity going on, even now, in the midst of what many are calling the worst economic downtown since the 1930s. In this article, I'll share with you 7 smart things that successful businesses are doing in order not just to ride out the recession but to grow and thrive as never before.
1. Break down your numbers, not just month to month, year to date, and year to year, but also into categories like how many leads, how many new sales by product, average sale, and average product-source. Then, you analyze any and all correlations, implications, and anomalies this data tells you.
2. Have a systematic, strategic process in place that is designed in a predictable, sustainable, and continuous manner to bring in prospects and first-time buyers. You keep advancing and enhancing them forward to recurring purchases in a predictable enough manner that you can look at your numbers today and accurately predict what your business will be like in 90 days, 100 days, or some other time frame. You're able to engineer specific, predictable growth, year after year, because you're zigging while your competitor zags. He's still using direct mail, while you are conducting Webinars. He's running ads that don't pull, while you're tying in with affinity groups.
3. Produce not just incremental gains but exponential gains by recognizing how your business really makes money. For example, Costco studied its numbers and realized it made more money from selling memberships than from selling goods in its stores! So it tailors its advertising and marketing to bring people back into the stores to buy things on a regular basis…so they will continue to keep their memberships in good standing. And "The Biggest Loser" TV show promotes The Biggest Loser Club, where an individual pays a yearly membership fee to lose weight in the online Biggest Loser Club. More than a million people choose to do so each quarter. Now that's real leverage!
4. Have clarity about all of the factors that affect your business, and realize none of the problems they pose are insurmountable. In fact, the vast majority can be improved upon. You now see the potential income in any business situation and how to make it work for you in a most enriching manner. For example, you find that you have one category of buyers 10 times more likely than others, and if you approach them the right way, they are likely to buy 17 times more than your average client. Or when ads no longer work, you know how to get free media. Or when consumers aren't spending as much money, you know how to find alternative propositions to which they can't say no. If marketing at corporate events or trade shows stops working for you, then you develop a distribution channel none of your competitors know about. You've become Wayne Gretzky, skating to where you know the puck is going to be.
5. Understand your competitors' appeal, advantage, and differentiation in the market, and know how to pre-empt these advantages, or successfully counter-position yourself against them. Take the time and trouble to learn why certain consumers buy from your competitors and not from you, and you know how to change that. Failing to study your competitors' strategies is like playing poker over the phone. You don't get to pick up on their nuances and traits…and you don't learn how to overcome them.
6. Know the alternative products and services that your prospects can buy in lieu of your products and services, including taking no action at all. Focus on proving to your prospects that choosing you represents the most astute decision any buyer could make. You know how to motivate and persuade them to take action and make buying decisions. You will enjoy not just what I call a "static awareness" or a theoretical knowledge of your marketplace, but how to do something very cool and profitable with your prospects and clients. Remember that until you convince them to make a move, they can just as easily sit on their wallets. That's something you can't afford to permit!
7. Incorporate growth thinking into everything you do, every action you take, every investment you make, every contact you forge with your buyer or marketplace. Let's take Kevin Trudeau as an example. Trudeau is famous for his books on memory and health cures. He is also a master of the infomercial. You want to know the secret to success? Trudeau succeeds because he first runs ads before he sets prices! He would see how many calls per thousand viewers an infomercial generated, giving the price on his product…and then he set his pricing accordingly to maximize his profits. That's a brilliant approach. Most people just assume they know how much the market will pay for a product or service, but Trudeau takes the unusual -- and highly effective and compelling -- step of listening to the market and seeing what they have to say.
These are just a few of the means of dislodging your business from the rut into which so many once successful businesses have now fallen. Apply some or all of these tactics you'll be back on track to superior success.
©2009 Jay Abraham, author of The Sticking Point Solution: 9 Ways to Move Your Business From Stagnation to Stunning Growth In Tough Economic Times
Jay Abraham, author of The Sticking Point Solution: 9 Ways to Move Your Business from Stagnation to Stunning Growth InTough Economic Times , is founder and CEO of Abraham Group, Inc., in Los Angeles, California and has spent the last twenty-five years solving problems and significantly increasing the bottom lines for over 10,000 clients in more than 400 industries worldwide. Jay has won high praise as a marketing genius in USA Today, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, OTC Stock Journal, National Underwriter, Entrepreneur, Success, Inc., and many other publications. Jay's clients range from business royalty to small business owners, many of whom acknowledge that his efforts and ideas have led to an increase in profits ranging into the millions of dollars. He lives in Los Angeles.
Learn more about Jay Abraham at www.abraham.com