Regardless of the economy, you can grow your small business even when the economy is in a downturn. But unfortunately, this is where many people shake their head and say, “It’s impossible!” or “We can barely make ends meets, let alone grow!”
Like most small business owners, you probably batten the hatches in hopes you can ride out the storm with minor damage. It’s scary when the economy turns, and sales slow down. As business owners, we like to see positive growth, but as soon as things change, we step back and lose momentum.
Are you tired of your business growth being determined by the economy?
Small business owners often approach us for help with marketing when things slow down. Without a doubt, we love to help, and so we get to work. What if those owners took a slow economy as an opportunity for growth instead of a sign to retreat. It’s time to take your business on the offensive rather than the defensive. So here are some ideas to help you grow your small business in a slow economy.
Contact Existing Customers
Depending on your industry and customer base, approaching existing customers with whom you already have a relationship can be a great way to generate new income. Unfortunately, a customer who chose us for web design unknowingly chose another company for digital marketing. It would not be their fault if we failed to inform them about our other products and services.
Let your customers know of all the products and services that you provide. Send them a letter, email or call and let them know about products or services you provide that they may be unaware of. A few times a year, we send out an email to let our customers know about our more unknown services. It always tends to generate new income.
The Cold Call
The cold call is feared and avoided by many small business owners, but those who hustle are the ones who come out ahead. Cold calling is simply reaching out to people who have never heard of or used your products or services. It could be as simple as a phone call, email or a visit. You may provide an offer or discount for first-time customers. This is time-consuming, but it costs very little to reach out to a potential customer. Not only will your confidence grow, but you will also often get feedback to improve your products and services.
Ask for Referrals
Some business owners can’t be bothered asking existing customers, friends and family for referrals. However, successful business owners know it’s part of a small business growth strategy. If you don’t feel right about asking the people you’ve built relationships with to refer your business, try offering them a carrot. Offer to give a gift certificate for any successful referrals. Most customers, friends and family members are happy to help. After all, they want to see you succeed and grow your small business!
Expand Products & Services
When things are slow, it’s a great time to improve upon what you already offer. Do a survey of your customers to find out what you could do to improve things. Maybe your clients have been asking for a product or service that you don’t offer. Research and find new ways to generate income that complement your existing products and services.
If you are a car detailer, you may offer to pick up and drop off the vehicle at the customer’s location or offer to change the wiper blades if they need changing.
If you are a cafe owner, you may offer a service where customers can text in their coffee order for pickup or provide local delivery for coffee to local businesses.
A slow economy provides numerous opportunities for business growth when you have an open mind and are willing to hustle. It will take effort, energy and time to grow your business in a slow economy, but it will definitely be worth it. As things grow, you will want to set aside a budget for ongoing marketing to protect against future economic downturns. Be proactive; you will see a steady stream of business when the market goes up and down like a roller-coaster. Save the roller-coaster for the amusement park, not your small business!