Does your small business seem to be on a treadmill? If so, maybe it's time for a makeover to shake things up in 2016 and get your revenue growing.
Try this: Put everything up for grabs, including the systems and technology you are using, your sales and marketing plans, product development, budget, sales and expense expectations, mission statement, website and whatever else you can think of that might have an impact.
Make 2016 about regrouping and renewing your business for an improved economy where customers are more demanding and better informed than ever, and they are plugged into the Internet and mobile devices in greater numbers than ever before.
Here are six suggestions for changes that can help give your business a revenue and profit makeover:
Look at which customers are giving you the most profit, and coddle them, woo them, don’t lose them! Offer them frequent buyer rewards. Send them a small gift at their one- two- or five-year anniversary. Give them a random call every few months to “check in,” thank them, and ask what else they might need. Look for opportunities to introduce other products or services of yours that might be a good fit.
2. Downplay or cut loose unprofitable customers. This is the flip side of #1 above. Sometimes, the highest-maintenance, most time-consuming customers you have are the ones who pay you the least. Analyze the profit margin (or lack thereof) that each customer or customer segment produces. Stop pursuing customers or segments that are not helping you be profitable.
Then take the time and resources spent on unprofitable customers and re-allocate it toward segments that are providing you a better return on your investment of time or money.
3. Spark new selling relationships. Consider overhauling your sales behavior. One way to do that is to transform the mindset of one-time sales into an ongoing “sales relationship” effort. Take time to learn more about customers – their likes, dislikes, needs and wants – and plug this information into a CRM system of some kind (such as Salesforce). Follow up with regular value-based communications offering helpful tips and information.
4. Extend your staff through outsourcing. Whatever type of skill or service you need, think hard before hiring a new employee or keeping an old employee. Look at each department or each person when you are trying to manage costs. Can you eliminate positions (perhaps through attrition), combine jobs, delete processes, and outsource tasks? Outsource exactly what you need for the right amount of time and the right amount of money.
5. Step up your social networking. From blogs to Twitter to LinkedIn to Facebook, invest big-time in building the online and social media presence you need to compete in the new digital world. Businesses that don’t leverage social networking will be left behind. Jump-start new relationships in 2016 with a burst of social media activity. Update all your social sites and accounts. Keep your online relationships fresh and dynamic with news, blogs, newsletters, tips, and surveys. Find an online forum in your industry and become an active contributor.
6. Work from where ever. With cloud technology, you are no longer bound to a desk. Log onto some new interactive cloud-based systems that can help you do your business anywhere. Make sure to you have Internet connections on all of your devices. Everything you once needed to do in your own office can now be done remotely. Best of all, when your employees are sharing files in the cloud, it makes for a much more cohesive, connected team. Check out apps such as Expensify, Evernote, Dropbox and Addappt.
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