Businesses have experienced tremendous success during the economic boom of the late ‘90s and turn of the century. Today, over a decade later we find ourselves in undeniably one of the worst recessions in history. As business owners we need to strategically figure out how to make more than just a fraction of what we earned in the past while remaining profitable. Below are a few questions to ask yourself about the respective business in which you operate. Who are my true customers? Why did they shop at my business? How can I access more customers?
Take the time to get to know your customers. The customers who frequent your business have a clear need and know exactly where to find it. Appreciate that they can go to any opposing company for the products they purchase from you, but they come back to you and give you repeat business. Ask them what they like specifically about the product or service you provide. Capture vital information like email addresses. Ask them to “LIKE” your page on Facebook so they can stay connected with store events. When business seems slow or when you simply want to say “thank you”, send out coupons via email for the popular items. Be sure to include an expiration date on the coupon with a short time frame i.e. 2 weeks to drive sales on a high margin popular product. This will allow you to measure the results of the promotion.
Why your company and not another company? This question may answer where your competitors fall short. Here is a chance to capitalize on your competitors’ weakness before they notice. Come up with a quick message about the benefits of your company and repeat it to each customer who comes through the door. Make your competitive advantage clear. Strike when the iron is hot.
Broaden your reach. Target the ideal customer from question #1 in the neighborhoods of your competitors and make them aware that your business is an alternative. Consider offering first time customer promotions. You can also try partnering with other businesses who offer products to be used in conjunction with your product or service offerings. This will enable you to access a well-defined defined targeted customer base from an existing company. If you are going to ask for partnering opportunities, don’t ask if you are not willing to give. Here are two examples of partnering or strategic alliances:
Example 1- Used car dealership offers $50 gas card from a local station to customers with a vehicle purchase. The car dealership may then ask the gas station to set up an ad at the pumps or distribution of promotional cards for an upcoming test drive event.
Example 2- A local restaurant in a shopping plaza with a video rental offers, “Get 10%off movie rentals from Acme Video with purchase of a dinner”. The video store will then offer “Free meal from Sample Restaurant with every 10th video rental”.
Thamarr Griffith is the principal of Grifco Incorporated, a business development consulting firm specializing in strategy, growth and sales for health care and government organizations. They work with small startups to large worldwide conglomerates. To learn more about how to grow your sales and revenue in your respective industry, email Thamarr Griffith at (800) 515- 4024 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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