Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Secret To Small Business Being Busy In Lean Times

This is one of the biggest problems small businesses face. When times are good they revel in it and don't create a strategy that can and should be used at ALL times. So when times get lean, they find themselves without a plan.

Get out the door! Create a sales plan that you can implement immediately and that includes networking, social media marketing, prospect research, and sometimes, cold calling. You have to generate activity and energy around your business. Sitting back waiting for the phone to ring is a death sentence.

You can't ever rest on current client business and incoming calls. You HAVE to get out and create the business. Building relationships takes time which is why you have to be doing it all the time. Now while it's quiet - get out and build those relationships. Find out how you can help others succeed. Attend events with the goal of meeting people and starting the relationship process. Do some marketing. You have to get your message out to the people or businesses who need what you offer. And it has to be a message they can hear.

If sales isn't your forte, take a training course while you implement the ideas above. Read a sales book, take a webinar, do whatever you need to do to build your client base.

Or go get a job. Ok ... that's alittle sarcasm for those frozen with fear or too lazy to do what it takes.

Above all if you haven't already - - develop a marketing plan. Here are some tips:


What does your research indicate is the trend in your field? Will it stay the way you are currently offering supplies and services or will it change? This item covers the developments you expect for the next few years. Evan a 'perfect' business can become obsolete overnight due to future developments. Specify a 5 year forecast of your field in your area.


Have you developed these targets? This section shows your estimates of future sales revenue for your business. Your strategic plan, needs to spell out the specific actions you will take to achieve your forecast sales revenues.


How does your business differ from the competition's strong and weak points. Again, remember to carefully look at your business from the customer's perspective. If you're not sure how your pricing policies compare to the competition, here are some guidelines. Most people associate high prices with high quality and extra service, while they associate low prices with low or average quality and minimum service. Make sure you provide extra quality and service if your prices are higher than your competition or make sure that your prices are lower if your quality is average and your service is minimum.


Once you describe your target customer, it's easier to create a list of possible ways to reach that person. One of your jobs as a businessperson is to decide which of all the possible methods of communication will give you the most exposure for the least cost in money or time.


COMPETITION: Most businesses have competition. How will your business differ in significant and positive ways from your competition? If your competition is strong, don't minimize that fact, but figure out ways you will adjust to or use that strength. For example, if you plan to open a restaurant next to an extremely popular one, part of your strategy might be to cater to the overflow. Another might be to open on days or evenings when the other restaurant is closed.

PIONEERING: If you anticipate no direct competition, your business probably involves selling a new product or service, or one that is new to your area. How will you avoid going broke trying to develop a market?

CYCLES AND TRENDS: Many businesses have cycles of growth and decline often based on outside factors such as taste, trends or technology. What is your forecast of the cycles and trends in your business? For example, if your forecast tells you that the new electronic product you plan to manufacture may decline in three years when the market is saturated, can you earn enough money in the meantime to make the venture worthwhile?

SLOW TIMES: Every business experiences ups and downs. Is your business small and simple enough, or capitalized adequately enough, to ride out slow times? Or do you have some other strategy, such as staying open long hours in the busy season and closing during times of the year when business is ?

OWNERS EXPERTISE: Nobody knows everything. How do you plan to compensate for the knowledge you're short on?

Write your risk analysis by first thinking of the main dangers your business faces. This shouldn't be hard, as you have probably been concerned about them for some time. Some of these may be on the list set out above; others will be unique to your business. Once you have identified the principal risks facing your business, write out a plan to counter each. But don't bog yourself down worrying about all sorts of unlikely disasters.