It happens during the life of every small business – sales slow down, the financial plan is stressed and income starts to dry up. While this is often inevitable, it doesn't have to mark the end of the company. On the other hand, there are several ways to avoid a slump and bring in more customers.
For many industries, the worst time of the year is the heart of winter. Once the new year hits, many people are figuring out what they want to do and how much they want to spend. This could mean that sales slow down, one way or another.
In order to keep a company afloat, there needs to always be something to do. Here are several simple financial tips to get that process started.
Strive to be more creative
There always should be more work than needed, according to Rebekah Epstein, the founder of fifteen media, in an article for Entrepreneur magazine. This can be achieved by thinking outside the box and always being creative.
Entrepreneurs should constantly be suggesting new ideas, Epstein explained. This can either be directed toward colleagues or clients, but either way, an enthusiastic, motivated person will often have more success. Better yet, demonstrating a desire to be creative will paint the small business in a favorable light to clients. Entrepreneurs should also be a team player. There is never really a bad time to volunteer, take on new projects or help out a friend. Anywhere a person can demonstrate expertise is a valuable opportunity, and that can lead to additional business.
On a similar note, companies have to be careful about when they turn down an offer, Epstein noted. Saying no can be a tricky process, even if it doesn't seem like it. New jobs accepted in haste can lead to complications, and in some cases, it is better to wait and see instead of jumping right in. It is always important to remember the firm's goals, and any new client that could be counterproductive may need to be avoided. Most importantly, small businesses should remember to not waste time and always search for relationships that are the right fit.
Be on the search for new customers
The hunt for new revenue and added customers should be a year-round affair. This way, when sales slow down and business banking gets tight, the company will be prepared.
One way to do that is with a clear understanding of the target audience, according to Inc. magazine. Without knowing who the intended market for a product or service is, sales may flounder. The first step is to perform a little research, and identify what buyers' motivations are.
"Attracting more customers is really about listening to their needs, not being a solution looking for a problem," Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of consulting firm Mavens & Moguls, told the news source. "There are many existing problems out there that need to be solved that customers are willing to pay for today."
A marketing plan for new customers can be made easier by analyzing the current customer base, Inc. magazine noted. To do this, small business owners should look over demographics, buying habits and the current attitude of clients. Then, they'll have a clearer picture about the market and understand what segments require extra attention. After that, the company can begin cold calling leads, networking within the industry and connecting with as many contacts as possible. The best way to build a stronger customer base to withstand slow sales is with a little effort, and in many cases, the answer to any problems is near.