Anyone in business knows that there will be inevitable slowdowns; times when customers disappear, sales decline, and overall activity drops off. Whether or not it is a seasonal slowdown or an overall economic decline, your ability to survive depends on how you react when your business stagnates. This is not a time to panic, but rather it is an excellent opportunity to take stock of your overall business. It is a time to evaluate what is working and what is not, a chance to formulate new goals and objectives, and an occasion to set new plans in motion. There are several areas that business owners should concentrate on when business slows:
It is often the first thing that is cut when times are tough, but realistically marketing should receive even greater focus when things are slow. Increasing your visibility while your competition is decreasing theirs makes you poised to capture an even larger market share when things begin to recover. Besides, when customers are disappearing, the last thing you want to do is to stop communicating with them. It may not be possible to allocate large sums to marketing, but there are inexpensive and creative ways to stay in touch with your audience. For example, you can get free publicity from local news sources by issuing press releases for noteworthy occurrences relating to your business. The hardest part of this is coming up with an angle, but once you do, the attention from local media is invaluable. Also, if you are an expert at something, and most business owners are, why not host a workshop or seminar. It is a great way to educate your audience about what you do, and it also allows you to get face time with potential new customers. Marketing should always be high up on your to do list. Not only does it keep your business visible, but it forces you to constantly think about the benefits and positives associated with your business; something that can help any business owner through tough times.
Although networking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and when you are stressed over a business slowdown, these events are the last place you want to be, it is important not to hibernate or isolate yourself. These events are often a good source for sales opportunities and you just never know what kind of collaborative relationships you can form with other like-minded people. Expanding your contact list and connecting with potential leads is not a bad way to spend a couple of hours. But remember, this is not about collecting a pocketful of business cards and calling it a day, this is about quality over quantity. It is much better to take the time to get to know a few individuals on a deeper level then to have passing contact with the whole room. Also, to be successful at a networking event, you simply have to remember the basics of any relationship.
You need to listen more than talk, you need to be focused and present, and you need to truly be interested in what the other person is saying. By doing these things, it in turn makes you interesting as well, and when it’s your turn to talk, make sure you have your elevator pitch prepared. This means that you have to be able to explain a little about yourself and what you do in a clear and concise manner. When the event is finished, don’t just toss the business cards you collected in your drawer and forget about them. These are potential new contacts or customers and you need to follow up with a “great to meet you” note, or if there is true business potential there, an invitation to meet over coffee or lunch. Networking is not hard; it’s just a matter of putting yourself out there, because you just never know who you might meet.
Just like marketing and networking, social media is an excellent area to focus your attention when business is slow. It is an inexpensive way to connect with a much larger audience then would normally be available through traditional media. Sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest allow you to up your customer service quotient by giving you the opportunity to listen to your audience, determine what they want, and offer them solutions. Basically, it is all about engagement and content. Today’s consumers want an interactive experience with the brands they support and by giving them unique and informative content; you can turn shoppers into customers. Likewise, writing a blog related to your business also ups your exposure. Again, it allows you to connect with your audience, and it ensures that searching consumers can find you on the internet because it spreads your brand across multiple sites therefore increasing your search ranking. Remember, social media really is no longer an option for business owners, but it can be time consuming. Consequently, what better time to give it some attention than when business is slow and you could truly benefit from the marketing push.
Most businesses today have a website; unfortunately, many of them are just bad. It appears that they were created several years ago when having a site became mandatory, and then forgotten about ever since. In truth, in a day and age when nearly every consumer turns to the internet for information about their local businesses, having a sub-par website just isn’t acceptable. Giving your site some much needed attention is an excellent way to spend your resources during a slow period. Giving your website an overhaul doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. There are many low cost site builders and content management systems available that make creating a functional and interactive site relatively easy. Just keep in mind that you have a very short time to make a good first impression. You need to consider design. Does the esthetic of the site fall in line with your image and brand? Also, you need to focus on usability. Can your customers find the information that they are looking for quickly and easily? Lastly, your site must have engaging and informative content that is updated and expanded regularly. Creating your website is not a one time job. You have to consider it a work in progress; one that needs to be continuously managed and developed.
As you can see, there are many things that you can do to productively spend your time while businesses is slow. Also, all of these activities will ensure that when consumers are once again ready to part with their hard earned dollars your business will be front and center in their minds.
As web designers, programmers, business consultants, and prepaid card consultants, our group does it all. As our name would suggest, the Coterie Group is a group of marketing specialist, trainers, software developers, funding experts, business coaches, and debit card managers that have been brought together by a common goal; in this case, our goal is to use our knowledge and experience to help other businesses, and start-ups succeed.
We have assembled a talented group of individuals, each with their own specialty, to offer consultative and practical services to help organizations achieve profitability and growth.
Having been entrepreneurs and business owners ourselves, we realize that in order to take an idea from concept, to launch, to profitability, an organization often has to deal with numerous service providers. When you are dealing with several different providers, it can be challenging to get everyone on the same page and it can also be very costly. For this reason, the Coterie Group provides a one stop solution for all of your business needs. We offer business consulting, marketing, software development and programming, design and copywriting services, and training programs. Because we have assembled a team of experts under one roof, we use a collaborative approach to ensure that we tailor our services to meet the unique goals and objectives of every client. Also, because we have been in the trenches of business ownership ourselves, we keep our prices extremely competitive.