Marketing for survival
Have you recently struck hard times? Is the term ‘profit margin’ a term you remember using some time, a long time ago? Are you waiting for the ‘bad times’ to end and a magical unicorn to come prancing towards you, carrying the solution to all your problems?
In business, we can all dream of a magical unicorn appearing making all the bad stuff go away, but then reality hits and we wake up to realise that we need to act quickly to get ourselves out of this mess – because no one else will.
Whether you have just realised that your business is no longer sustainable or you have seen a decline in your revenue, it’s not too late to turn things around.
A fascinating thing I always enjoyed playing with as a child was Play-Doh. Firstly, the smell (ahhh the memories) and then all the colours; you could roll it out or squish it up and basically mould it into whatever form you wanted. Nothing ever turned out quite like you had visioned (well clearly none of my creations anyway) but still Play-Doh would keep me occupied and intrigued for hours.
Why am I writing about Play-Doh? Well, just like Play-Doh, small businesses can be moulded to take the shape of whatever a business owner would like it to be. Sometimes these shapes form without us even realising, but the important thing is that small business has the agility to make quick decisions and act upon them. By the time a large corporation has identified that it is trading insolvent, there is sometimes little that can be done to turn the big machine around.
If you didn’t’ know it already, owning a business requires you to be a great planner. Plan in the good times for the bad times. Downturns in business are likely, so ensuring your business has what it takes to survive the tough times takes a broad outlook and a clear plan.
So what can you do right now to ensure your business survives?
Keep a close eye on your revenue
Even if numbers aren’t your thing, if you notice a change or a drop in your revenue, go about understanding what has caused this change. The same applies if you see a rise in revenue. A savvy business owner is fully aware of what contributes to the ups and downs of its operation.
Ensure your business still has a point of difference
Did you start your business a long time ago? Have things changed since then? (I’m guessing the answer is ‘yes’.) Do you have more competitors, or fewer? That simple analysis will tell you if your industry as a whole is increasing or decreasing. Nationwide, the Transport, Postal and Warehousing industry accounted for the largest growth in business; while Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing has continued to have the largest total decrease in the number of businesses. (Source: abs.gov.au)
Has what your customers are looking for changed? And do you have the products or service to meet their new needs?
Often in business we go about our day-to-day without allocating enough time to ensure our business is still fulfilling the need or purpose it set out to do. Take this time and involve your entire team to inform and guide you into a new era for the business and you might be surprised by the opportunities this presents!
Increase your communication – with everyone!
Often the easiest way to generate more sales is to sell more to your existing customers. So how are you going to do that? Communicate with them! Regularly communicate with your database of customers (yes we are going to assume that you have one), making sure that the people that already choose you, know all about the full range of products and services you offer. Just because someone stopped buying from you doesn’t mean they won’t ever again. Contact people you provided quotes to and let them know you are still around and want their business. Everyone wants to be desired, so get out there and show them some love. Keep your eyes and ears open for new opportunities and let everyone know you are open for business.
Know when to ask for help
A helping hand [and mind] is not far away. Don’t be shy to seek outside advice. Holding things tight to your chest will only lead to further angst.
Our final take out is – don’t give up. You can bring a business back from the brink. Our team has been turning businesses around since 2007 and we thrive when tasked with a good challenge. Give us call, we would love to learn about your situation and help wherever possible.