I belong to a mastermind group, in which a member recently shared that he was suffering near financial ruin after lagging sales in his business. Business profits ebb and flow and it can be hard to know how much to save during flow times to survive the ebbs. When business slows down, not only do profits plummet, but so can morale and creative thinking. Here are tips to reboot a sagging business when sales are down:
1) Focus on what works. When business is good, you can get involved in new and innovative ideas. But when sales slow, it’s important to analyze what’s been working to make money and focus on doing more of it.
2) Pull together and leverage assets. Sometimes business owners in financial straits look to creating a new product or try a new marketing tactic to fix their declining profits, but that can take time. Instead, inventory the assets you have and find ways to make them start paying off. One idea is to bundle complementary products and services. Another is to offer a fireside sale.
3) Go back to past customers and prospects. It’s harder to get a new customer than it is to generate a repeat sale or convert a prospect to a sale. Contact previous customers and prospects to offer a discount or coupons for your products or services. Offer referral incentives if they send you a new customer.
4) Drop the dead weight. When money is tight, it’s important to tighten the money belt, letting go of expenses that aren’t absolutely necessary to running your business. However, it’s also a good time to let go of clients or customers who create problems and take up more time and energy than they’re worth. Instead, focus on clients and customers who appreciate your value.
5) Harness ideas from others. Stress can paralyze creativity, which is important in coming up with new ideas and strategies. Instead of hoping the solution will pop up in your brain, get feedback and ideas from others, including your employees or sales team, mentors, colleagues, and mastermind group members. They can look at your problem differently and offer solutions you may not have considered.
7) Go viral. The best type of advertising is word-of-mouth, including shares on social media. Develop a unique story and share it across different social media platforms. It doesn’t have to be a marketing message specifically, it just needs to be entertaining or thought-provoking enough that people will want to share it with others.
8) Use Hashtags. One of the challenges of marketing is finding your market. Fortunately, hashtags can help. Search hashtags related to the products and services you sell and reach out to tweeters with an offer to help. You don’t want to be spammy or salesy. Instead you want to offer value and help.
The best solution to getting out of a sales slump is action, but it needs to be the right action that leverages your assets, reaches your most likely buyers and can be shared with others.