You have more options than you might think to help your business when the work is not just rolling in. Last week I described some of the strategies that will likely hurt your business in the long run, and in this post I present some better options. Use one at a time or more than one, depending on your available resources. Each option can help your business to stay afloat and survive the slow season.
1. Streamline your business
Is there anything that you have been putting off because you were too busy to manage it? Now is the time to attend to those issues. Streamlining your business processes is always a positive change that can be made. Usually we don’t have the time.
Now is also a great time to review your business. You create a business plan and a marketing plan so that your business has a definite direction in which to begin. As your business grows, both plans can be expanded and changed. Dust off those plans and see if changes are in order.
2. Learn a new skill
Your business probably began with an idea to provide services based on your strengths, but there is always more you can learn.
Diversifying your business may increase your profits. If a client can get more than one service from you, that makes your business more attractive than the competition that only offers one. Use your downtime to take a course that will enhance your business skills. Explore what’s available through organizations like NAPO, POC, the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD), or the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM).
In addition to courses specifically for organizers, you might benefit from a course in public speaking or creativity. If you wish to improve your blogging, consider a writing course.
Adding to your skill set is always a positive thing. You never know when that learning will come in handy.
3. Optimize your customer service
The backbone of any business is how it treats its customers. Attracting new clients is not the end of it; you also need to keep them satisfied, in order to maintain the integrity and positive image of your business. To neglect your clients is to ruin your reputation in their eyes, and these days information spreads more quickly than ever.
Create an email draft to handle routine emails. If a client has to wait more than two days for a response, they may send another email that is not so friendly. Or, they may simply go to another business that provides similar services. A quicker response will prompt a shift from your company to another. If you’re too busy to respond right away, send a quick message to acknowledge receipt of their email and let them know when to expect your detailed reply.
Consider posting a survey to give your clients a chance to express their thoughts about your business. Everyone wants their opinion to be valued. Customer surveys give you an opportunity to make changes in your business that will benefit your clients. Knowing that their suggestions are taken seriously will inspire customer loyalty.
Repeat clients deserve a little something extra every now and then. Reward them with special offers, thank you gifts when they get a friend to use your services, and “no purchase necessary” entries into contest drawings. If the incentives are good, they will continue to use your services and recommend others to use them, too.
4. Create a follow-up system
I’m sure you’ve spoken with or emailed many people who didn’t “bite” the first time around. Don’t give up on them too easily. Some people take longer than others to take that big step from “I’m interested” to “let’s get started.”
Save all the information you have on each prospect in your Contacts, including the reason they gave you for not buying your services at that time. This will come in handy when you send a follow-up email. It can be a simple cookie cutter email where you fill in the blanks with something personal from your previous contact, so they realize that you remember the meeting or past correspondence. This personal touch is very important. With a little coaxing, this time around you may hook that elusive client and add them to your list of loyal customers.
5. Explore new areas of marketing
Look for ways to keep the momentum going in your business by drawing in new clients and keeping your existing clients coming back. Marketing in different ways leads to a wider customer base and the opportunity to increase your earning potential.
If a new marketing strategy has caught your eye, work up the particulars on how it will positively impact your business. Research how other businesses have benefited from this strategy.
How many of these options have you tried?
- Email marketing
- Social networking on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or other social media sites
- Blogging or podcasting
- Video marketing
Marketing today takes one idea and expounds on it in several different ways. From web content writing to videos to podcasts to forums, seeing the same bit of information from four different angles means more website traffic for less work. No wonder everyone is doing it!
Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve looked at various ways that a slow season can be a good thing in the life of your business. If not for the slow times, you couldn’t prepare to capitalize when business revs back up. Don’t kid yourself. Slow doesn’t mean that things are dead or that you can take a break and let the business run by itself.
It’s the perfect time to get it in gear and work that much harder to make your business even better. Through popular online marketing techniques and the traditional standbys, position your organizing business for a bigger and better future.
Let the slow season in your business be a new beginning. Think of it as a reprieve from the hectic everyday life of an entrepreneur. Everyone needs a break once in a while. This is yours, so make the most if it.