I often get calls from entrepreneurs who are in a dead panic about the lack of clients coming into their business. They’ve done well in the past, but for whatever reason, business is slowing and they can’t seem to get any traction with making money. The sad truth is that their first go-to place for business strategy to advertise more. However, at this stage, that tactic is basically throwing money at their problem and hoping for the best.
When I’m coaching someone in this situation, I recommend we back up the bus on their thinking (hint: advertising at this point will not solve your problems…in fact, it just creates more!) and analyze what they currently have going on in their business. Almost always, there are 5 things that can be adjusted to net you the revenues you’re looking for.
1) Slow the hell down!
Owning a business is not a sprint. Lack of money may trigger you to feel like you should be running like a bat outta hell, but in reality, you must remember that the more you panic and feel like you need to do SOMETHING FAST, the fewer revenues you’ll attract.
Yeah, I get it, suggesting that you slow down may seem counter-intuitive, but you need to calm down, and start thinking with a clear mind. Fear based thinking will keep you rigid & panicked which, in turn, will halt the flow of great ideas, valuable constructs & critical thinking.
Your business will not change over night. It takes time to brainstorm great ideas, create successful strategies and really follow through with them. If you throw together a marketing campaign without taking the time to be strategic, you’re wasting money, time and most of all, your sanity. Accept that your success timeline is much longer than your current expectations. It’s often those who have been working strategically for a few years that seem to become an overnight sensation.
2) Update your website for heavens sake!
I have many people coming to me that have been in business for many years and are wondering why their business is slowing down. When was the last time you did an overhaul on your website? Like all things business, there are trends, new data and amazing technology that can make your website work for you, rather than just being an online business card and service menu. Chances are your website needs a good clean up with a new look & better systems to generate interested new clients. What was cutting edge 5-10 years ago is now archaic.
Tip: new trends in web design include flat design, big text & images & no sliders (via www.solamaragency.com)
3) Learn to love (or at least tolerate & use) social media.
Social media has exploded and is now an essential part of current & future business success.
For you to say you’re ‘just not into social media’ isn’t going to cut it anymore. If you’re not using social media now (or at least learning how to use it) your business will be left behind.
However, I write this with a caveat: if social media isn't your thing, pick one platform that suits your business best (if you're not sure...ask me) and educate yourself on how to do it best. There are some flexible & easy online eCourses that will get you on track.
4) Market to your existing clients.
It’s so much more expensive to market to new clients rather than marketing to your existing clients. They already know/like/trust you…why keep reaching and paying for new clients when you have walking testimonials?
Do you have a strong client referral program…something that you’ve thought through deeply? And if you have a referral system in place, are you keeping up with it or has it been kinda sloppy?
And on that note...
5) Marketing doesn’t mean advertising.
Speaking of marketing, this term does not mean advertising. Marketing refers to every part of what you offer your guest and it spans from your online & in-person presence to the time they walk out your door. The whole experience is an opportunity for you to go beyond their expectation with outstanding customer service.
So get creative! What are some inexpensive, easy additions you could do that would have your guest feeling ‘wowed’? So much so that they can’t help to brag about you to their circle of friends! (Tip: look at what other industries do that may be 'out of the box' exceptional customer service that you could apply in your particular industry.)
So...now that you know what to turn your attention to when you're revenues are down, which one will you action first? It's not good enough to know what to do...you gotta DO it!