Delay is the death of a sale. Have you ever heard that before? It’s an old salesman’s saying. Oddly enough, it still applies to this very day. However, today, delayed sales could mean the death of your business. If you’re going through a slow time right now, it’s time to turn things around before it’s too late. If times are good, then don’t get lulled into a false sense of security. You won’t like trying to make ends meet with zero-dollar paychecks.
Set Challenging Goals
One of the reasons business slows up unexpectedly is because your goals are challenging enough. Yes, the economy can wreak havoc on your business, but it’s more likely that the lull in sales can be mitigated by having really challenging goals. One of the best books on the subject is by Dr. Edwin Locke and Gary Latham titled: Goal Setting: A Motivational Technique That Works! Read it.
Keep a Cash Reserve
Many businesses just don’t see a need for a cash reserve. Slow times are the reason for having one. Money in the bank lets you retool your machines, do some R&D, or even up your marketing to bring in much-needed sales. Again, building a reserve is best done when you’re living high on the hog. Save some of the “fat” you’re making for lean times and your business won’t turn to molasses.
Start by saving up a percentage of profit that would be sufficient to increase your current marketing initiative by at least 25 percent. For example, for every $100 you currently spend on marketing, you want your cash reserve at $125. Your reserve should be enough to tide you over for several months of slow business. Ideally, you would double your marketing during slow times since you have little or no business and you need to make up for lost time. Every day you don’t make a sale is a day you have to play “catch up” in addition to turning a profit.
Read Industry News
When all else fails, or no additional marketing would help, catch up on industry news. Reading about what’s going on in your industry will help you innovate. Now’s the time to do it while you have nothing else to do. See who your major competitors are. What are they doing? Are they suffering a slowdown in business? Why? What can you do that they aren’t? If they’re not experiencing a slowdown, what can you do to emulate their success?
Could you make improvements to your products or services? If so, now is the ideal time to do that. If you have enough cash in the bank, and you know this is just a lull in a predictable business cycle, you could hit the ground running with an entirely revamped product line (or even a tweaked product line) when things pick back up. Whatever you do, innovate. Don’t come back to the market with the same old products. The goal is to shorten the business cycle, if possible. Expand into new or related markets to fill gaps in your revenues.
Whatever you do, don’t stop moving. Every good move you make during slow times will be action-oriented moves. It will be something that forces you to adapt, grow, change, innovate, or persist. That’s what business is about. Only those most adaptable to change survive.
Kish Winner is an upstart business consultant. She sees a lot of opportunities being made in these ‘slow times’ and enjoys sharing her tips on entrepreneurial blogs. Visit Paid To for ideas and tips on making money at home.