Explore The Online Marketplace
Many offline businesses owners may be surprised to find out that there are lots more potential customers online.
Don’t be ignorant; simply find out if this is the case and how you can exploit the potential.
Perhaps you do sell online but you are experiencing declining sales. Now is the time to find out if your previously successful strategy has been too limited in scope and if there are new channels to discover. Find out which aspects of your e-commerce site must be improved. Perhaps your marketing strategy is inefficient. How can this be revamped?
Make The Most Of Free Publicity
Whenever you get the chance to spread the word about your business don’t hesitate to do so. Word-of-mouth is highly effective and absolutely free – find out ways to always be on people’s lips.
Start Doing More On Social Media
Simply having a social media presence is not enough – you must get active in these channels.
Start interacting better with your target audience. Take time to post comments regularly. Ensure that clients’questions and comments are responded to promptly. Engage your audience by discussing matters related to your products/services and the industry at large. Don’t forget to advertise your product/service on social media.
Make Your Business Mobile-Friendly
An increasing number of people (read your target audience) are becoming accessible via tablet and smartphone for a greater part of the day. This as opposed to when desktop computers and laptops were the only means of internet access. Is your business mobile-savvy yet? It needs to be.
Review Your Business Budget
This is very applicable for small businesses that have departments to handle various operations.
Require your managers and supervisors to list suggestions about how expenditure can be reduced in their respective departments. To motivate them you can pose this as a challenge. You can, for example, promise a handsome reward for the departmental head whose cost-cutting initiatives resulted in the greatest percentage reduction in allocated budget.
You should also consider the expenses you can influence directly and immediately. Is it possible to opt for acheaper package for your telephone and software requirements? Have you been taking advantage of attractive discounts and deals typically offered by service providers?
How about the lease terms for your premises or equipment? Are you being overcharged considering current market rates? Are there cheaper options?
When times get tough a large business typically makes it through and even achieves growth by harnessing itssuperior capacity to access capital, bargain better terms, and pursue a greater scope of investment options.
A small business on the other hand has to do all it can to avoid going down during a financial slump. Ill-advised knee-jerk reactions to such a scenario may include the prompt laying off of some employees or shutting down of some branches.
More prudent business owners will however be more intuitive in their responses. They’ll want to know what measures can be implemented to keep the business afloat until profitable winds start blowing again.
By adopting a survival mentality there is a good chance that your business will remain intact through crisis times. You will also find it easier to pick up and continue when the economy rebounds.
This is unlike a business that opted for rash responses, such as the ones above, which are really last resort measures. Such a business will no doubt lose momentum seeing as time, money and other resources will have to be expended in hiring new employees, securing premises, winning back lost clients, etc.
What therefore are some of the strategies you can embrace to cope with crisis times?
Reinventing Your Business
When times are good many small business owners direct all their focus on making the most of the currently available opportunities. This is all good but it’s done at the expense of diversifying the scope of focus.
For such a business, a slump in demand and sales has an almost crippling effect on operations and the owner may be at a loss about how to proceed.
How about recreating the business? Start by analyzing your strengths and weaknesses and then think about another sector of market where you can be a fit.
Repackaging your business and getting back on track may take some time.
Take heart though.
The course of action you opt for will most likely be quite familiar to you (thanks to your experience so far) such that making inroads won’t be too difficult.
Create Other Revenue Streams
You must start thinking about how else you can earn revenue in addition to what you are doing currently. This is about finding out what else you can do with the current resources at your disposal.
If, for instance, you own a barber shop and business is slow because three new barber shops have opened up on your street, why not think about offering other men’s grooming services. Many men are now warming up to manicures and pedicures. How about making your shop a one-stop grooming shop by partnering with personal beauty pros?
Seek Out Your Former Customers
You never know. What harm can there be in finding out? Who says a former customer can’t be convinced to start buying again? Perhaps he or she is disappointed with a current supplier’s quality.
Are there customers who left because their priorities changed? Might they have changed again? Why not find out if their current preferences are within your scope? Perhaps they can even refer new clients your way.
Maintaining a professional relationship does have its perks.
Find Former Prospects And Other People On Your Contact List
When times were good and demand was booming you probably had several cases where potential business deals fell through for one reason or another.
Perhaps some projects you were eyeing didn’t materialize because the prospects had to put them on ice at the last minute.
Try getting in touch with such prospects to find out if such opportunities still exist.
Make Strategic Alliances
It is worth exploring the industry to find businesses that you can work together with for strategic benefits. This can expand your scope of exploitable opportunities meaning that you’ll still be in work even when your core area’s prospects become lean. Sooner or later you’ll be the one extending the favor.
Also, having a strategic partner will help to propel your market penetration efforts considering that you are most likely facing off against bigger competitors.
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