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How To Grow Your Business In A Slow Economy

Invest in Yourself

Investing in yourself is one of the best return on investments you can have. Your thoughts, beliefs, language and habits have an effect on your results. Whether it’s investing in learning a new skill, developing yourself personally or professionally, tapping into your creativity or hiring a coach, you need to give to yourself first before you can give to others. Invest in building your confidence. You can invest in yourself by developing an understanding of the value that you possess and offer others. Read educational books. Books or audio books are an awesome resource to build your knowledge and expertise in any area. You can then pass this knowledge to your team to improve their lives as well.

 

Go Untapped

You will admit that you still haven’t reached the full potential of your business. Untapped customers are often hidden assets that are yet to be discovered. There are still more potential customers that are yet to be discovered. Those prospects still don’t know about your business, your solutions and value. A company might discover that one neglected customer segment holds the key to far more growth than it has enjoyed in the past. Untapped customers also mean that you haven’t reached the full potential from your existing customer. Many companies focus on achieving growth through new customer acquisition. But those companies may be leaving a big opportunity for growth on the table. By engaging existing customers and monitoring their buying signals, businesses can build customer loyalty and drive additional sales. Many companies are failing to market to existing customers, and thus are missing out on an important way to grow both their customer base and their sales.

 

Go Bigger

Some of you may say: “Are you crazy?” No, I’m not. I know for a fact that some small businesses have been able to ride the economic slowdown and grow their businesses by opening new branches in other GCC countries. This additional investment has proven to be a very successful strategy as opposed to shrinking. Look for opportunities to repurpose products or services, add accessories, and opportunities to attract new customers. Assess the costs and risks but don’t let fear drive your decisions. This can also be achieved by establishing strategic partnership with other businesses in the region that are looking for your unique services, solutions and value. This approach will help you expand your reach and give you access to more channels to market your products. It will also boost your credibility and make you stand out in a crowded market, from being a local business to being a regional one. This step can create a turning point for your company.

 

Go Deeper

One of the first adjustments your business can make is to fix your customer relationships. Reach out to your customer. Take some time to look over all of the files you have on customers who are inactive. Many companies make the mistake of assuming that providing service one time creates a repeat customer and there is no need to maintain or grow a relationship. Then, sometime later the business owner is scratching his head wondering where his customer has gone.
Here are some reasons why a customer may leave your business:

  • Customer complaints were left unresolved
  • A competitor provided a better offer
  • A customer felt that their business was unappreciated
  • The customer felt that prices were excessive or unfair The major points are the last two.

A customer will stop using your services or buying your products and go elsewhere if they feel you do not care about them but a competitor does; which only makes sense, if you take into consideration that customers generally buy your products or services based on the relationship that they have developed with you or have been referred to your company by an associate or friend. You will get more out of your marketing budget if you use your money to develop and nurture your relationships with existing customers. To develop good customer relationships, you have to treat your customers as a significant part of your marketing strategy. Show your customers that you sincerely care for them. It is important to make them happy with the right services and products, the right promotion, and be available in the right place at the right time. Established customer loyalty is something that you must work for each day, with each sell, no matter the size. Often it is the little touches that make someone feel special.

 

Offer Alternatives

Customer behaviour is guaranteed to change with the onset of a downturn. You may consider developing alternatives that will suit the customers’ budgets. If you can come up with a solution to spread out payments, save them money, cut prices in some areas or offer better-priced alternatives, now would be the optimal time to do so in order to sustain customer relationships during hard economic times. This will keep your customers loyal and ensure a strong relationship with your company.

 

Have Loyalty – Reward Your Best

The key to growing your business in a down economy is providing great customer service, developing and growing a strong, loyal customer base. Reward Customer Loyalty. When looking to grow your business, focus on your existing customers-they already know and trust you. The truth is that it’s easier and far cheaper to increase business from existing clientele than to persuade new prospects. Offer your loyal customers new or additional products and services relating to an existing offer-then reward that same trust and loyalty by offering these services at a reduced rate. Also, consider offering discounts on existing services for the referral of new business prospects, as additional incentives.

 

Have Focus – 80/20 Rule

You may already know that about 20 percent of your customers produce 80 percent of your sales. All your customers are not equal. Many of your existing customers represent a small proportion of your sales and some even waste your time. In fact, you may lose money, time and effort selling to those people. Your goal should be to focus your effort on those 20 percent of customers who are essential for your business’ prosperity. Look at your sales data and check which customers bought more recently, bought more frequently and spent the most money. Take them out for lunch, invite them to your events and send them handwritten notes. You’ll most certainly get either more sales or more referrals from those people.

 

Be more “Social”

Companies that leverage social media can emerge stronger. Listening to the voice of the customer to drive loyalty and retention is now proving helpful. Engaging with your customer and prospects on social media is essential to stay on top of mind when they start looking for your type of products or services. Your starting point is to find out where people connect to promote effectively. You also need to have a clear strategy about generating marketing content to share on your social media. You need to create content that educates your market about the value that you offer and also content that generates trust. You also need to tie back your social media to a strong website and a compelling offer. Video marketing is the #1 most powerful tool. It has become an extremely cost-effective marketing tool. Over 70% of internet traffic is interested in video and the average person spends 27 minutes per day watching videos. In addition, YouTube videos have preferential ranking with key search engines. Videos need to be about 2 minutes in length and address key questions that viewers are searching for.

 

BE “Out There”

People want to buy products and services from businesses run by people they know, like and trust. This means that as a business owner, your personal network becomes your net worth in business. You must work at building great word of mouth about your business- to grow sales and encourage customers to come back for more. Networking has proven to generate leads, create greater bonds with existing customers, keeps you visible in the community, generates potential strategic partners and creates new referral sources. “The truth is that it’s easier and far cheaper to increase business from existing clientele than to persuade new prospects.”

“The truth is that it’s easier and far cheaper to increase business from existing clientele than to persuade new prospects.”

Eman BurashidHow To Grow Your Business In A Slow Economy
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