A lot of small business owners I talk with are running out of ideas when it comes to growing their businesses and making them successful. They are frustrated with how their businesses are performing and need to make changes.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, you may need to implement new strategies for your business. Below are some suggestions:
1. Review your numbers
Take a close look at where your business’ money is coming from and where it is going. I see many small business owners who cannot explain their own income statements and balance sheets. This makes them blind to potential ways to improve their bottom line.
What expenses can be reduced? Are there products that are more profitable than others? Should you raise or lower prices? Should you make changes in how you pay and utilize employees? You must be able to look at your numbers and know what is going on with your money so you can make the right decisions.
2. Identify and foster key relationships
Do you know what relationships are most important to the success of your business? Can you identify the specific people who have the most influence on your business’ growth? These people could be clients, employees, suppliers, other business owners, etc.
Who they are may surprise you when you really think about it. Are you paying enough attention to these key people and fostering a mutually beneficial relationship?
3. Seek customer testimonials
Think about who your most satisfied customers are and what they have told you about your business. Would some of them be willing to let you use a quote from them to promote your business to potential new customers? They may be willing to write a letter for you that could be used on your website, brochure and with other marketing methods.
Rave reviews from existing customers can tip things in your favor when a potential customer is considering spending their money with you. It reduces his or her uncertainty and assuages his or her fear of making the wrong decision.
4. Offer incentives
Many of the small business owners I work with use discounts to bring in more customers. The effect is usually temporary and can be costly. It is often less expensive and yields better results to offer potential customers something free. This works best if what you are offering is related to your business. It attracts the right type of customer.
If the owners of a pet supply store offer a coupon for free ice cream from a nearby shop to people who come visit their store, they may attract a lot of people who have no interest in pet supplies, just free ice cream.
But if the pet supply store offers a free booklet on training dogs to anyone who visits its website and requests it, it will attract pet owners – the right kind of customer. And the request form will require contact information, including e-mail – the booklet could even be e-mailed. This strategy can result in a large contact list of promising potential customers for the business.
5. Find the right members for your team
When hiring new employees, you likely have a list of qualifications they must have, such as education, years of experience, certifications, etc. In addition, you need to ask potential employees questions that give you insight into whether or not they are the right type of person for your company.
What kind of attitude do you want them to bring to your team? For example, if you want to grow your business, you may be seeking employees who have a passion for the business’ success, are motivated by long-term rewards and have the initiative and creativity to develop and implement new ideas.
So think about what attributes may be even more important to your business’ success than skills and education. Then tailor some of your questions to help you find employees with those attributes.
Most of the strategies above and many other techniques for making your business more successful are discussed in the eBook, “10-Minute Business Success” by Bob Serling, published by Profit Alchemy Inc.
Connie Edwards is a business consultant with the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center. Contact her at (912) 651-3200.
Connie Edwards (2010, December 19th). New Strategies May Ignite Your Stale Business. Savannah Morning News. Retrieved from http://savannahnow.com/exchange/2010-12-19/small-business-new-strategies-may-ignite-your-stale-business