Businesses aren’t always bustling with customers buying. Some businesses are in a lull during summer and post-holiday winter. People’s spending habits change. They go on summer trips, spend more time outdoors or they had to pinch the dollar after spending everything for the holiday season. But there are things you can do to prepare your business for changing spending habits to help see you through the dry spell. In fact, this could be an opportunity to set your business for massive growth in time for the “days of plenty.”
1. Improving the customer experience
You should always be working on ways to improve your customer’s experience. Set a priority system, if you haven’t done already. If you’re a brick and mortar store, move merchandise a bit to improve traffic and freshen your look. Set the vibe with posters, slogans, or works of art. Note how your customers shop, what they pick up, what they look at and where they wander. Anything you could think of to improve your customers’ overall experience, slowdowns can give you that opportunity.
Say you’re running a restaurant that serves Italian cuisine. Having replicas of Italian renaissance art or paintings of popular destinations can lend a traditional Italian vibe to your restaurant. Customers will start coming in, not just for the pasta, but for the whole experience. It’s one of the keys to Starbucks’ worldwide success as an iconic brand. People come not just for the daily dose of coffee; it’s the whole coffee experience they’ve grown to know and love.
Same goes if you have an e-commerce site or online store. You can use downtimes to improve your website by making it easier for customers to navigate or make buying and paying more frictionless. This brings us to our next point.
2. Working on your online presence
There’s no excuse for not having a web presence, particularly during slow months. Popular webhosting platforms have made it easier than ever to create your own. If you want to test it out, try using a sales and marketing automation tool that comes with its own page builder/editor like Small Business Dream. Unlike most generic webhosting platforms, Small Business Dream is made specifically for small business owners like you.
You don’t have to start from scratch. If you’re a restaurant owner, simply choose Restaurant from a list of templates, and you’ll be greeted with a web page specific to your industry, complete with background and featured images, sample text, and call-to-action. Slap your brand and logo to make it truly yours. Jazz it up with pictures of your mouthwatering dishes, and promote your site through email and social media.
Once you’ve established an online presence, you become more searchable, enabling your business to gain more clients through online visits, thus maintaining your cash flow even during slow months.
3. Empowering your employees
Use their spare time to level up and acquire new skills. Teach them how to be a sales and marketing pro. With cutting edge technology in sales and marketing automation, we can condense the learning process significantly. What has taken many top earners and marketing legends to master can now be learned in less than a year at just a fraction of the cost (before we have Internet, they had to spend hours finding leads and qualify each one over the phone).
Think of how many hours you’ll save by getting your team up to speed. They can reach their goal, say 10 to 20 leads per day, in just one or two hours instead of eight. Multiply that with the number of hours per week and the number of sales people in your team and see how your company can save hundreds of hours for other productive endeavors. This could mean more sales and bigger opportunities to grow your business.
4. Finding business partners
Successful businesses are built through partnerships. In retail businesses, this could mean finding the best suppliers that would allow you to get the highest profit margins, or in the case of auto repair shops, provide you with both high quality aftermarket and genuine OEM parts at a lower price. Having less customers during these slow months means you’ll have more time looking for these people.
There are many ways to find partners. One way involves finding business partners through social media. Of course, not everyone on social media are genuinely interested teaming up with you (some aren’t even real people, i.e., bots and fake accounts). You’ll need a tool to curate your “likes” or “follows” to see if their businesses do exist or if they really want to build serious business relationship with you. Small Business Dream offers a way to curate your leads through the Social Connect function. This allows you to find potential partners and weed out bad ones in one sweep.
A second option involves meeting up with people in business conferences, expos, and networking events. This requires social skills, a compelling business idea, and the ability to handle objections. This type of event allows you to network with likeminded people who you can partner with – or at the very least become a customer. You’ll have to own this skill through experience and gaining a lot of exposure in social events.
Regardless of the industry you’re in, you’ll find many practical uses of sales and marketing automation for your business. Struggling to find high quality leads? Train your realtors and insurance agents to set up sales funnels and survey pages to qualify unlimited number of leads. Other businesses like home improvement, dining, beauty care, and repair service, can also find lots of creative ways of using sales and marketing automation. Need more sales ideas? Small Business Dream can lend a hand through their mentoring services and help oversee your sales people.
As you can see, slowdowns doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being less productive; you’re simply channeling your resources to further your business goals over the long haul.