5 Things Every Local Business Owner Can Do When Business is Slow

So it’s February. Is business a little slow? It’s a slow time for many local businesses during this time of year and if that’s your situation, take advantage of this time to do some things you won’t have time to do once things begin picking up in the more productive season ahead. While most of these 5 important tasks are easy things to procrastinate over, getting to them now will put you in a much better position to help you create a plan of action for getting where you want to be by the end of the year.

  1. Know Your Numbers:

A business owner that doesn’t know his or her financial numbers is likely in trouble. Knowing where your business stands in terms of return on investment and profits and losses is the only way you can make informed choices for moving your business forward.

All successful business owner will be current with their financials on at least a monthly basis and many within the past two weeks. Staying on top of your numbers is key to knowing when and how much to reinvest in your business.

If you’re not sure where you stood last year at this time how will you measure whether there was growth this year? On top of that, keeping track of what you did from a marketing prospective will show you where you had measurable ROI or whether you should direct marketing budgets somewhere else this year.

If you struggle with analyzing your finances on your own, consider hiring someone that can help you develop a budget for your business and keep track of things for you.

 

  1. Don’t keep doing what you’ve always done if it’s not working

Some business owners become stagnant and are doing things the way they’ve always done them. If that is working for you, great! But in most cases, there needs to be a change in how you are reaching new prospects. Technology is here to stay whether you like it or not and using it to market to prospects might be just what your business needs to revive your customer base and grow your business. The times they are a changing and just because you’ve always done something one way doesn’t necessarily make that the best way when it comes to attracting today’s consumer.

Reassess what’s working for you in your marketing strategies. If you aren’t seeing a return from any source of paid advertising, you should consider trying something else. The thing to remember is that you need to market to your potential customers wherever THEY are. If your prospects are on Twitter, that is where you should direct some of your marketing focus. If they are new in town, then perhaps a direct mail approach is the best use for your advertising dollars. Ask yourself this: “Who do I sell to? For example, do I sell to professional men, ages 18-64 who are interested in business attire? What can you learn about where these guys hang out? Maybe LinkedIn is a good avenue for engaging this market. Is your market women ages 18-40 with school age children? Brides? Young married couples who just purchased their 1st home? People with pets? Retirees who are downsizing? Know who your ideal customer is. Create an avitar for them. Once you’ve done that, then you need to learn where your target market will see your advertising both online and off.

Another area you may need to address is “embracing technology.” The use of technology will not only bring your business into the world we’re currently living in, but it will also help your business become more efficient and more profitable. By embracing it, you’ll be able to take advantage of the vast array of marketing tools available to small businesses and maybe even automate a portion of the tasks you spend time doing on a regular basis. Remember though, take it a step at a time. Don’t try to do it all at once. Decide on 2 or 3 ways to market your business for the 2nd quarter and then add or adjust things for the 3rd quarter and so on.

  1. Learn Something

Learn something that will help you grow either personally or professionally. Develop a new skill, take a class in something you’ve always been interested in or something you need to know how to do better for your business.

  1. Network/Volunteer

Spend some time attending networking meetings and finding volunteer opportunities in your geographical area. These could be social groups where you will have the ability to schmooze with prospective customers, business groups where you will meet other local business owners and establish relationships you can potentially partner with when creating promotions, and/or goodwill opportunities to give to your community. You will find the community is very reciprocal in these types of situations and honestly, you just never know what good will come from a win-win opportunity.

  1. Create a Marketing Calendar

Being prepared for what’s coming up puts your business in a much better position for deciding on what and when you will run promotions, have sales, need more inventory on hand, need to increase the number of manpower hours, and the list goes on. Many businesses exist by their marketing calendar!

There are a number of ways to create a marketing calendar. We use and recommend a quarterly plan with notes for future quarters and planning. Try starting with things you know are seasonal to your business and add some obscure holidays that fit with the kind of business you have and are things you can create a promotion or event around. There are several good websites where you can find this information like this one or this one.  Monthly themes are best to plan your promotions and events around and allow you to have a whole month of fun with but weekly observations and even daily events can also be profitable and fun!

If you need help with putting together a marketing calendar, call us today to learn more about how we can help you develop a marketing plan that is personalized to your business, will keep you on track, save you time and money, increase your sales, and put you ahead of your competition. We’re here to help you.

P.S. If you still have extra time on your hands, INC has a list of 28 things you can do in slow times that will have a positive outcome for you and your business. Check that out here.

 

 

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