A slowdown in your business is an opportunity to sharpen your knife and focus on working smarter not harder. Being a small business owner is an emotional experience that will stretch you in ways that you could not imagine. If you are really motivated and driven, you can turn things around. There are no limits to what you can achieve as your own boss.
Here’s some suggestions to get your business moving forward.
1) Go where the money is: if customers are not buying what you are selling, sell something else.
2) Brainstorm ideas with your staff: Sometimes someone in your organization might have a great idea, but no one ever asked them. Make sure everyone knows the situation with the business. That will give everyone ownership over fixing the problem. Your staff will feel more comfortable letting you know about their ideas when you invite them in to help.
2) Create additional streams of income: If you have a brick and mortar business, sell online too! Are there additional products you can add to your store such as lottery tickets, UPS packaging and pick up, giftwrap, snack & food items? Do you have information to sell? Are you good writer? Why not create an e-book about how to start a consulting business or coffee shop?
3) Develop a loyalty program: Create a frequent buyers club. Hold special sales and create special discounts. Sponsor a special event where they get VIP tickets. The goal is to generate more repeat business.
4) Build a list: Create an offer to collect e-mail addresses from all customers who buy in the physical store and online, and then send them monthly newsletters with special offers, additional products and services and suggestions. The goal is to generate more repeat business.
5) Become a PR machine: Develop 3 hooks to pitch your business to the local media and business journal. Create an exceptional guarantee or a special sale with a portion of proceeds going to charity. Consider doing a live remote with a local radio station. Find any way to attract publicity and to get people to enter the business: have a person in a costume pass out flyers, have a party with games and clowns for the kids, hire a musicians to play every Friday for a month, throw some sort of contest for college students to create a jingle for the store or a YouTube commercial.
6) Create coupons or postcard flyers: These can be displayed in other businesses in the area. Work out ways to cross market other businesses and they will help you in return.
Small actions CAN lead to big changes in your small business!