Everywhere we look we hear about how bad the economy is. When we pick up the newspaper we see images of riots and cars burning in Greece, Cyprus, and other places in Europe. We’ve been introduced to the business concept of ‘too big to fail’ as though massive revenue somehow means market forces become irrelevant.
All of this, quite naturally, spooks customers. It doesn’t matter what you sell. Whoever is buying knows just as well as you do that times are tough, and a lot of people aren’t going to come out of this recession in nearly the same economic shape as how they went into it.
At the same time, you can make the case that there isn’t really a better time to be in business than times like these.
Tough times force us to adapt to our new environment to survive. Those who can survive and live well in times like these have a far greater upside waiting for them when our economy stabilizes again.
Think of it as the business equivalent of Darwinism. Survival of the fittest—businesses, that is.
Below are some steps I recommend to growing your sales in a tough economy and coming out stronger.
1) Who are your customers? Find more like them.
Never has it been more important to understand who buys what you’re selling, or who benefits from the goods or services you provide. Truly understanding who your current customers are and what their motivation is in working with you is key to growing your sales and client base. The larger and more diverse your client base, the more stable your business will be going forward.
2) How can you effectively market yourself to new potential customers?
Effective can mean many things, but key to the definition in this context is efficient use of your primary finite business resources, time and money. What tools are available to you that tie in well to the demographics of your ideal customer, and already fit their patterns? For instance, if you’re marketing to the 18- to 24-year-old segment of the market, telemarketing is not going to be an effective tool, and neither will newspaper ads.
3) What brought your current clients in in the first place?
It frightens me how many of our clients, and other people that I know in business, brag about how little they do to attract business. Word-of-mouth marketing and inbound leads are the holy grail of sales, but they’re not a sound business strategy and relying on them imperils your growth. If you’re not happy with your current sales and know deep down you don’t do much to invite new customers into your world, this is the first thing that has to change.
What does Broadview know about this, anyway?
We are a public affairs firm and spend a good portion of our time working on public and government relations files relating to regulation and legislation, but we also work with small businesses that are trying to improve their name recognition by relying on earned media, traditional advertising and online/social media campaigns. Some call this ‘marketing’. To us, it’s just good business practice.
We’ve used a wide range of tactics to help businesses connect with their target markets, grow their sales and get a great return on investment on our services.
From a personal perspective, we are also a business and have seen our own sales grow high double digits year over year as a result of our own marketing efforts, and have had the revenue necessary to expand into new areas, including opening and staffing an office in Nova Scotia to hasten our growth further.
Ready to grow? Let’s talk. We’re here to help.
Feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to talk with you about your business and unique needs and share some ideas specific to your industry and circumstances that can help you grow.
There is no doubt that during economic times like these, some businesses will fail, others will survive, and some will thrive. I firmly believe it is the actions of business leaders that will decide their company’s fate. Which do you choose?