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Business can slow in any industry for a variety of reasons and, sometimes, no reason at all. Retail in 2017, in particular, was very sensitive to changes in costs, the economy and the ever-changing supply and demand. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. No matter what reason business is slow, an increase in sales is always important. Here are some ideas to think about and implement when business is lagging.
Trimming Expenses to Increase Sales
The first thing to do when business is slow is to look at exactly what money is coming in and what is going out. Many times there are unnecessary expenses that can either be diminished or cut out completely. In the age of credit cards and automatic drafts for subscriptions, programs, or supplies can add up if you are not paying attention. When business is good, many business owners do not have time to look at these expenses or feel like money is good so they aren't diligent in looking at those expenses. However, this is a surefire mistake.
A $15 subscription for a service doesn't seem like a lot. But, for example, if you pay for 10 various subscription services when you only actually use or need 5, removing the ones you don't need or aren't necessary can add up to $900 a year! That is a lot of breathing room over time. As business picks up, you may need those services again for efficiency but they will always be there. Take control of your business now so you can increase the sales and put more of your profit to good use rather than unnecessary expenses.
Focus on Marketing, Networking and Social Media Skills to Increase Sales
When business is busy, things such as marketing, networking or maintaining your social media presence can take a hit. If your business is slow, that is the perfect time to reach back out to your current contacts or former customers. As I will talk about in a later post, relationships are essential to a profitable business. Maintaining relationships are essential to a profitable business and a wonderful way to utilize a slow period. It may not increase sales immediately but it is an investment in the growth of your business for the long term.
Social media is constantly changing. And so many customers rely on social media when making decisions on where to spend their money. For example, Facebook no longer allows many of the “baiting” behaviors of the past. Now all users must be conscientious about posting meaningful and authentic content that others want to engage with. This is a great time to get a better game plan to have better content on your social media platforms. This will increase your brand awareness by using cheaper means of marketing to your advantage!
Make a More Strategic Plan Going Forward to Increase Sales
Many times business owners do not put together an encompassing business plan to get their business off the ground. Successful businesses at the beginning usually don't exactly know what is attrutible to their success. Businesses MUST take advantage of slow times to figure out what they are doing right and where they can do better. It is difficult to know how to do things differently if they don't know what did or didn't work previously. Without creating a better plan for the future, it is hard to think sales will increase or business will flourish again.
As I talked previously about “Wandering Entrepreneurs“, entrepreneurs without a sense of purpose or sense of direction fail to get the most out of their businesses. Owners can easily increase sales or increase profitability if more business decisions are made with care and forethought. Most people who win Monopoly on a consistent basis don't just “walk over” the Boardwalk, right?
Ask for Help!
Entrepreneurs are notoriously strong-willed and stubborn. That attitude and personality are how they got to be an entrepreneur. Stubborn people also find it hard to admit when a problem actually exists. Putting your head in the sand and ignoring advice can be the tipping point that takes your business under.
Talk with other entrepreneurs or mentors you know and trust! In fact, most people may not know you are struggling until you reach out. In addition, true entrepreneurs like to help other entrepreneurs out by providing networking connections, experience or advice. Look for those who are more knowledgeable and can give solid advice. Other's experiences can be one of the most valuable assets to increase sales and overall health of your business.