Many many many businesses are finding themselves in a tough spot this year. I could sit down and write a bunch of money-saving tips for you, but you’ve probably heard them all!
I’m going to take it back to BASICS:
- Know your numbers!
You are going to hear me say this a million times in our relationships as blogger and reader. You must know the numbers to your business. Learn how cash travels in and out of your business. Study the patterns. Write it all down. Small businesses fail time and time again because business owners do not know their numbers. You can hire an accountant to do the dirty work, but know what your business is doing in $ and #. You’ll make better business decisions if you do.
- Know what’s contributing to your income and how to maximize your promotions.
During a down economy you must work harder to attract customers. This could mean ramping up your advertising, increasing your networking, or maximizing your level of service. You need to know what’s working for you by analyzing your promotional return on investment. Are you paying for ads that don’t lead to sales? Are you nurturing relationships that don’t cost anything but result in high income referrals? This is the time to maximize your money makers.
- Take a look at wasted money.
If you know your numbers, you’ll be able to determine where you are spending money that you don’t need to be spending. I did a series of posts to give you ideas on where you can cut some corners. Make a budget and stick to it. And, make sure that you aren’t cutting out on some the most important segments of your business: branding, service, and quality.
And, some words of inspiration…
- You are not alone
According to The Wedding Report the average cost of a wedding went down 30% from 2007 to 2008. I talk to small businesses every day that have had a drop in the number of customers this year and a drop in the dollar values per order.
- Talk about it!
If I’m having a slow week, it helps to talk with other businesses about their challenges. It helps to hear how they are making due with the troubles of a bad economy. (psstt… would love to know what you are doing about this! Post a comment below.)
- And, if you really need inspiration…
Hopefully, you are not facing bankruptcy (or anywhere close to it)… but if you need to feel pumped to learn that many successful geniuses have also faced failures, read this.
- Freshen up your Branding
If you have even just a few hundred dollars do something to freshen up your branding and website. When business is booming everyone in the industry will get a piece of the pie. But, in a down economy customers can be more choosy. If your branding is dated and hasn’t been updated in 4-5 years (or more!) it’s time for a facelift. You might love the designs you chose a few years ago, but trends change. What is the customer looking for? What does the customer expect? What is happening in the wedding market right now? Leila Kahlil of Be Inspired PR recently wrote a great post on Branding. In this post she discusses the branding of your company and the branding of yourself.
- Be Creative
Have fun with it! To me, this is an opportunity to do new things with my business. Find new ways to market yourself. Find new people to reach out to and network. Find new ways to promote your brand. Host an event. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Now more than ever is the time to be innovative. Here are few ways that you can spice things up.
And like everything… this too shall pass!