How to Make Your Small Business More Profitable
by Janet Attard
Are your small business profits declining? Or haven't they reached your expectations? Spin off a new profitable business to boost your bottom line: Here's how.
Are you a small business owner who's disappointed that you've never reached the profit level you had hoped for when you started your business? Or, has your once-profitable business started to take a nosedive? Both situations are fairly common. In fact, according to an SBA Office of Advocacy report, about 10 to 12 percent of small businesses with employees shut their doors each year. The rate is 3 times higher for businesses without employees.
While some of those closing may be unavoidable, your business doesn't have to languish or fade away. Give it new life - and profits - by developing new revenue streams, or spinning off a new business. The secret: Listen to your customers and keep an eye on trends. Combine that information with the contacts and knowledge you've picked up running your small business to develop lucrative new profit-making opportunities.
Professional speakers do this with finesse. They get paid for speaking at a conference or charge a fee to attend a seminar they set up. Then, they record their presentations, and bring in additional revenue by selling the MP3s or DVDs to people who couldn't attend the live presentation. They also offer live audiences and online audiences additional training classes, ebooks, and sometimes high-priced mastermind programs. It’s all related research material for the presenter, but spun out in different ways and amounts of content to generate additional revenue.
The concept works for almost any business.
- If you’re a small business accountant, consider what steps you'd need to take and how you might repackage your firm’s services to include tax planning, financial planning, accounting software setup, or other related services.
- Do craft show attendees “ooo and ah” over your hand-crafted goods and then ask you where you got your patterns, or how you learned your craft? Create and sell course to teach others what you do. Run it in person, or create videos with the lessons, and sell DVDs. To maximize income, sell the tools, raw materials, paints, or whatever else is necessary to create the handcrafted items, too. If your designs are original, you may even want to sell the l patterns, or create kits that include the pattern and everything needed to create the item. Still another option: books on tricks oi the trade for newcomers to the craft.
- If your auto repair customers complain about having to drop off their cars for routine maintenance or minor repairs, consider the feasibility of spinning off a mobile maintenance and tune-up service.
Where can you get ideas for ways to change and grow your own small business? Your customers are a key resource. Listen to their comments. Watch how they shop. Ask if they found everything they were looking for. Ask what they like and don’t like about your store, products or services. If you sell from a website, or you have email addresses for your customers, have them complete an online survey to give you the feedback you seek.
Follow groups related to your industry on social media sites, read industry publications, and attend tradeshows to stay on top of trends, too. Keeping your eyes and ears open will help you spot new opportunities for your business.
Finally, research your idea before you jump in. Find out who else is doing what you want to do, whether any special skills are required and how they really make their money. The answer might not be obvious.
© 2014 Attard Communications, Inc., May not be reprinted or reproduced without permission.