What Small Business Can Do In a Depressed Market

small business dream

The Economy is extremely volatile at the moment and if it becomes a bear market, it can have severe consequences for a lot of small businesses. For some, it meant cutting back on expenses, downsizing, or even bankruptcy. However, during these times businesses can give real value to their customers and stand out from their competition. Your ability to adapt, shift priorities, and look for opportunities during a downturn can help you stay afloat and gain a decisive edge above the competition.

We’ll be focusing on three main areas considered to be the most vital during this phase.


Customers tend to be more price-sensitive during tough times. Buying habits change, as well as their priorities. But despite all that, you need to keep a steady flow of income for your company. Getting enough customers to keep the ball rolling should be high on the list of your priorities. There are at least 3 ways you can achieve this:

  • Cross-sell/up-sell
  • Be more competitive
  • Focus on Customer Service

Although it seems counterintuitive, cross-selling or up-selling when most people are trying to stay on budget actually works. In retail business, this could mean offering bundled items, a discount, or selling them in bulk. Services like salons may offer one or more complementary services at a slightly lower price than if customers were to avail of them on separate occasions. Customers will take every opportunity to get the most out of their dollar whether it’s through discounts or storing up for the rainy days.

Staying in touch with your customers is a lot easier these days because of sales and marketing automation and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Small Business Dream helps business owners acquire new customers and maintain customer loyalty through email autoresponders, survey forms, inside sales tools for salespeople (Action List, phone script, notes, etc.), landing page templates, and sales funnel.

Cash Flow

Maintaining a positive cash flow can be tough for businesses during recessions. People tend to be more conservative with their finances, and businesses might have a hard time finding more capital to run their businesses. This often results in drastic measures like downsizing and outsourcing certain tasks, while others may try reducing their workload through automation. Check your cash flow and see if your business spending gives the best possible output.

Identify important areas in your business. If you are to strip down your business to its core, which ones would likely stay and keep you in business all throughout? Is there any task that hasn’t been automated, and is taking up too much time to accomplish? How effective is your marketing, and does it justify the cost? In many cases, business owners find themselves spending too much on things that don’t have significant impact on their bottom line. You could be hiring more people when you could have just spent a fraction of the cost using sales and marketing automation. We want our business to be as lean as possible and still be able to maximize our gains.

Reallocate your resources as needed. Technology has come a long way towards improving our efficiency from customer acquisition to maintaining good customer relationship. In fact, some businesses are already moving towards inside sales using CRM because it allows them to save up on gas, meetups, business trips, and other related expenses doing outside sales. This strategy greatly reduces business costs and helps them stay cash flow-positive when most businesses are barely making it.


When the economy is bad, most people turn to cash. Savvy investors and business owners use this opportunity to acquire more assets and properties as many of these will go on sale during recession. This is where businesses with enough cash stored away can benefit the most. If you are able to stay cash flow-positive, this can be your chance to grow your business significantly.

Foreclosures and auctions are pretty common during economic downturns. Take some time looking for opportunities to buy assets properties on the cheap which include real estate, office equipment, vehicles, goods, and raw materials. Some of these normally cost a fortune, but you might be able to acquire them for your business at significantly reduced prices. Market downturns allow you to grow your own business by picking up the pieces from what is left of other people’s businesses.

Final thoughts

You can succeed with any small business regardless of the present economic conditions so long as you have the mindset, skills, and the right tools to get the job done. You can always achieve more by working smarter, not harder. Use technology to speed up and automate your tasks, and be prepared to step up your business when opportunities present themselves.

Learn more on how you can successfully build your small business through sales and marketing automation. Visit SmallBizDream.com and start using our suite of tools to increase your sales and profitability like never before.

5 Reasons Why You Should Learn CRM Now

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Running a successful business takes more than just hard work. A lot of times, it’s more about being smart, critical thinking, and minimizing work through sales and marketing automation and Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

Many small businesses are still missing out on this remarkable tool which would have saved them time and money, reduced stress, and helped grow their business like never before. However, it’s never too late learning about CRMs. We have a system that can help small business owners and salespersons become a CRM virtuoso with practice and a little bit of creativity.

Here are five reasons why you should learn CRM now.

Use Time More Productively

You’ve probably heard about the 80/20 rule with regard to time management and productivity. Put simply, 80 percent of outputs comes from 20 percent of our tasks, while the other 20 percent comes from 80 percent of tasks.

Small business owners often put too much time and energy on things which can easily be done through automation like customer acquisition, and  maintaining customer loyalty. Time lost is money lost, so we want to focus more on strategy and developing skill sets such as dealing with prospects and customers – also known as ‘soft skills’ – and be able to automate most of our routine tasks.

Small Business Dream CRM works on the same principle by allowing the system to do most of the heavy lifting so that by the time it gets to you, all it takes is a simple follow-up call, email, or SMS. In other words, we’re working smarter, not harder. Additionally, Small Business Dream keeps your customers in the loop through automated email follow-up series, newsletters, and surveys.

Use Technology to Outpace the Competition

Technology has levelled the playing field for many of our small businesses. We’ve seen this many times with brick and mortar stores, local shops and restaurants growing massively through the internet and social media. It’s incredibly hard to compete with stores like Walmart, Amazon, McDonalds and General Electric, however when it comes to reaching your target audience, no matter if you’re big or small, we all have the same access.

Today, it only takes a simple tool like sales and marketing automation to do certain tasks which would otherwise be more involved and time-consuming. Small Business Dream CRM combines marketing automation with a simple, user-friendly interface to help business owners build their own templates, landing pages, sales funnel, and survey forms, and be able to promote their business on multiple channels, either directly from a sales funnel card (QR code or link to site) or through referral links, social media posts, updates, and invites – the possibilities are endless.

Create a Good Impression about Your Business

Customers will have an opinion about your business during the crucial 8 seconds on your website or landing page. They’d either stay on page to learn more about your business, or look somewhere else. Most of the hard work when trying to get more customers comes from designing landing pages which are both appealing and engaging.

CRMs make it surprisingly easy for businesses to create user experience with potential clients and customers. Small Business Dream integrates a lot of its site-building capabilities on the Sales Funnel Setup enabling business to create stunning websites, sales funnels, and landing pages. With practice you’ll be able to create professional-looking web pages to impress your target audience, but more importantly, convert more prospects into qualified leads and buying customers.

Save Money on Your Marketing Expenses

Automation took over a lot of our tasks such as sending emails, replying to certain requests, promotion, lead acquisition, and so on. It enables small businesses to cut back on marketing expenses while still gaining a competitive edge over the competition whether it’s real estate, insurance, event planners, restaurants, salons, dental practice – pretty much any kind of business.

Nowadays, you don’t have to hire additional personnel to do multiple tasks. You can build on your marketing strategy from time to time, spending just an hour or two on Small Business Dream. Customize your email autoresponder, tweak some settings, and perfect your Sales Funnel after doing all your tasks in the Action List.

Spend as much time as your schedule would allow. For those who need more time typing in customer information, Small Business Dream has a Card Scan function to take care of your data entry tasks, and done-for-you (DFY) website setup packages for busy business owners.

Have Full Control On How You Want to Interact with Customers.

Marketing automation works best with different approaches to customer acquisition such as permission marketing, personalized messages, and human interaction. We want to use both full-automation and semi-automation when dealing with potential clients and customers. Buying lists from data suppliers won’t cut it, and you could end up paying fines on the wrong use of marketing automation like sending unsolicited emails (CAN-SPAM Act of 2003).

Small Business Dream CRM gives business owners total control by combining different approaches on how they wish to interact with their leads and buying customers. Need more clients to fill up your Action List? Set up a Sales Funnel or landing page and have your visitors and walk-in customers optin to your email lists, Facebook, or Twitter follow up series. Use templates to quickly send personalized, semi-automated messages on the fly, or make the call as soon as they show up on your Call List.


Your ability to use CRM will make a big difference in getting more customers and increasing sales. With all the challenges faced by many small businesses and with competition on every turn, this could mean the difference between rapid growth and going out of business. You, too, can experience the power of CRM if you only take the time to put these words into action.

Take your business to the next level through sales and marketing automation. Visit SmallBizDream.com and start using our suite of tools to increase your sales and profitability like never before.

How Prepared Is Your Business For the Future?

As business owners, we know we live in tremulous times.  New industries – such as cryptocurrency – are being created overnight. Jobs are disappearing. Companies are switching industries. Tech companies continue to push the boundaries of automation through deep learning and artificial intelligence.

As modern technology pushes forward into our traditional businesses, the question for many of us is, how prepared are our businesses for the future?

Machines Are Taking Over

Businesses that fail to adapt won’t stand a chance in today’s fast-changing industry. People are now being replaced by robotics and automation for quite a number of reasons. People  can only do one task at a time. They get distracted, make mistakes, and buckle under pressure; machines rarely make mistakes, they don’t take breaks, and are incredibly efficient at multi-tasking.

Technology enabled businesses to grow faster than ever, and it only gets better with time. As people put more resources in technology, production costs go down, giving more room to invest in better technologies. Back then, long distance phone calls cost 25 cents per minute or around 2 dollars overseas. Nowadays, we can talk to someone from half a world away through the internet for just a fraction of the cost. (Imagine what this would do to traditional phone industry.)

Soon, nearly every task will be automated. This implies two things: first, most manual jobs that don’t require critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity are in danger of being taken away by automation. Industries will continue to downsize and low-paying jobs might soon be gone. White-collar jobs aren’t safe from the onslaught of automation. Neural networks might soon replace analysts, accountants, and personal assistants, as A.I. and deep learning continues to evolve.

Second, companies that rely on traditional methods could soon go out of business, unless they keep up with the times and stay relevant with modern-day customers. Amazon and online shopping will always be a threat to traditional retail businesses, and telecom companies are in dire need of a solution against the growing popularity of internet calls.

Uber and Airbnb have redefined travel and accommodation, challenging long-established companies within the industry. Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is a growing threat to our financial sector with its permissionless, secure, peer-to-peer payment system. Innovation is no longer just an option for a lot of businesses. As a matter of fact, it’s the only way for businesses to survive in this day and age.

Fortunately, some jobs are more resilient than others, particularly those that have to do with complex human emotions. So-called soft skills and out-of-the-box thinking will be more important than ever for businesses.

The World Has Changed, and So Will be Our Businesses

History is littered with the remains of old industries that fell out of use as better technologies emerge. You’d be lucky to find relics of the past in people’s attics like the portable cassette player, VHS, film camera, and encyclopaedias. Yet they remind us of the bygone era when they became a booming business in the late 80s and 90s.

Fast-forward to the present, people do things a lot differently. We spend more time on the Internet and consume online content more than from traditional media. Over 2 billion people connect with each other using handheld gadgets many times faster and more powerful than the NASA computers of the first moon landing. Our world today is vastly different, and so will be our businesses.


Businesses have evolved over the years alongside modern technology. Sooner or later, they’d have to come up with something fresh, something which has never been tried before. It could take the form of a much better technology, a new concept, a better strategy, or a business opportunity. Who knows what the next disruption will be?

Take your business to the next level through sales and marketing automation. Visit SmallBizDream.com and start using our suite of tools to increase your sales and profitability like never before.

Increase Productivity with These 2 Important Principles

Increasing sales is the number one priority in nearly all kinds of businesses. However, in order to increase productivity, they also tend to put a lot of stress to their workforce, especially when they require everyone in the team firing on all cylinders 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week.

People on top – the management – are often caught in a dilemma between increasing the company’s productivity and preventing a high attrition rate caused by too much wear and tear to their workforce or being forced to  take desperate measures to accomplish their goal.

Is it really possible for companies to increase revenue without increasing the amount of work? Is there a better solution to hiring more people working for less pay, or laying off half of the employees and let the other half do twice the amount of work?


Principles to Live By

Economists and business experts have looked into this and found out a recognizable pattern that holds true in almost every aspect of life. Two of the most important principles that apply to productivity in work, business, and management are known as the 80/20 Rule and the Parkinson’s Law. These two will serve as the overarching principle throughout the discussion in increasing productivity in sales.


Principle #1
The 80/20 rule

Management consultant, Joseph M. Juran believes that quality work deserves more attention than menial tasks because they have the greatest impact in the overall output. He borrowed this idea from Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto who noticed that only 20% of the population makes 80% of the money.

Using the same principle at work, this means that out of all the work we do, only 20%of it produces most of the results we see. Hence, you will need 80% of your effort in 20% of all your tasks that deliver most of the results in order to achieve maximum efficiency.

To put things in perspective, imagine that you have two lumberjacks and both of them need to fell ten trees for that day. One of them came right at it and started chipping off small bits for hours with a dull axe head while the other one sat down and spent an hour sharpening his.

In terms of multiple tasks per day, this means that if you have ten tasks, you need to find the first two that have the greatest impact to your productivity and concentrate on them first. This applies not only in sales, but in almost any kind of work. 


Principle #2
The Parkinson’s Law

Another principle that was found to have a great impact to productivity came from a British author and historian, C. Northcote Parkinson – known for his adage, “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

Essentially, what he meant is that in most cases people are just using up their time doing things that could have otherwise been accomplished in a short period of time if they have simplified the task.

He also believes that, “expansion means complexity; and complexity decays.” People can do a lot of things at a given time but achieve so little because most of it is just ‘fake work’, or things that don’t necessarily contribute to productivity and are only meant to fill the time.

Unlike the first principle, this is actually something you want to break away from. But knowing, as they say, is half the battle. You need to discern what is ‘real work’ – which is the first step to being more productive – and what are those that are just ‘time-wasters.’


Its Implication to Sales Productivity

These principles can be applied in sales for increased productivity. But first, here are some common ‘time-wasters’ companies and sales reps need to be aware of.

Whenever possible refrain from these activities:

  • taking calls or responding to emails in the middle of a highly cognitive task (tasks that require focus and concentration)
  • chatting with co-workers while doing work at the same time
  • spending too much time on low-quality leads
  • doing tasks manually and repetitively
  • starting from scratch every single time
  • going back and forth from one task to another (task-switching)
  • frequent meetings and seminars
  • ‘majoring on minors’

Most of the things mentioned above can be done more efficiently if we block our time and focus only on the task at hand. Studies have shown that task-switching (others call it multi-tasking which is more appropriately said about CPUs than the human brain) is actually counterproductive to work and can have financial and psychological consequences.

Most of the tasks in the office can now be accomplished much faster and with less effort using technology. Millennials, generally speaking, have no problem adapting to modern technology since they live and breathe technology by the time they were born. And this is why they are the most sought after employees in today’s highly competitive atmosphere.


Best Practices to Increase Productivity in Sales

Now that we have a clear understanding about the underlying principles that govern productivity, let’s look at how we can apply it to sales. Here are some of the best practices employed by sales team to boost productivity and the company’s revenue.

Plan and prioritize. This may sound simple until you realize you can’t prioritize everything. You need to take a step back and reflect which part of your job needed more time and concentration and which ones can be done on autopilot.

List down all your tasks and rate them according to importance, urgency, and repercussions if not met within that day. In this example, we have arranged the task from A to E; A being the greatest and E being the least.


A.  Following up on prospects and customers

B.  Sorting out and evaluating leads

C.  Identifying problems and customer needs

D.  Creating possible solutions

E.  Clerical work

You may also need to trim down your list or delegate tasks, especially the ones which are not directly related to your line of work or expertise. If your focus is lead conversion and you have a marketing department which specializes in qualifying leads for sales, let them do the job for you.

Read:  Time Management Skills for Increased Productivity

Set your goal high. Remember Parkinson’s Law about work? If you plan on using 40 hours to accomplish a certain amount of tasks, you are bound to think that you have plenty of time to spare so you end up using most of it on trivial matters.

But if you set the bar higher for yourself, and restrict yourself by finishing the task earlier than expected instead, you’ll realize you can actually do more, and, in the context of sales productivity, convert more leads than what the company sets for you at a certain period of time.

By having a self-imposed deadline, you are challenging yourself to be more efficient and clear your list of useless, unproductive tasks that gets in your way.

Utilize technology to your advantage. Most of the tasks that were done by a small team of employees can now be accomplished by single person with the right tools and skill sets at his disposal.

This rids the company a significant amount of time-consuming and repetitive tasks and instead focuses on things that really matter like creating a system to better improve customer service, and help sales and marketing teams achieve more without sacrificing quality time.

One great example being used by accomplished sales and marketing teams is CRM app which features customer acquisition tools, sales and marketing automation and sales funnel for collecting customer information, tracking down customer activity, conducting automated and semi-automated follow-ups.

Read: How Technology Is Changing Sales Forever


Increased productivity doesn’t always mean increasing the amount of work or workforce of a certain company. Technology and human ingenuity have already gone a long way to cut down the amount of work and time spent on task.

Perhaps you need a modern approach to increase the efficiency of your sales and marketing team in your small business. If so, having good CRM with the right features and easy-to-use interface could be your best option.

Small Business Dream is a sales and marketing app aimed at increasing productivity by simplifying tasks and unlocking the power of sales and marketing automation for your workforce. Learn how at www.smallbizdream.com.

Know What Your Customer Wants and When They Want It

When a customer comes in to buy certain goods or use a particular service, smart companies keep track of the customer’s buying habits to guide them with decision-making and predicting customer orders and purchases.

From the standpoint of a buying customer, he may notice something different from time to time, like why a certain brand is strangely low in numbers and why other brands are taking up the space that was left out.

A lot of businesses  use predictive analysis to know what customers would likely buy in the future based on the current trends, i.e. what most customers are actually buying and how frequent.

However, it’s not as simple as overstocking your shelves with merchandise just because they are frequently sold. It requires careful analysis and taking every possibility into consideration.


The Role of Customer Relationship Management in Business

Customer Relationship Management tools (CRM) came in response to the rapidly-growing business industries. Back then, we only had spreadsheets and repositories to store and analyze data.

Nowadays, we have integrated, collaborative software tailored specifically for businesses. These applications are capable of handling incredible amounts of data and performing complex calculations to provide business owners with real-time analysis of their sales and marketing strategy.

Companies like KFC and McDonalds have been employing CRM tools for quite some time . Even the government uses CRM in some ways because it provides a more realistic and practical way to address the needs of its citizens.


Using CRM to Predict the Future

Making predictions is not as simple as it sounds. We need to factor in specific details like who usually bought them,  specific time of the year, how much, how often, and the list goes on.

So how do smart companies make their projections based on customer data?


Analyzing customer data

Each time a customer checks out with his loyalty card,  customer data goes right into the data centers or servers for processing. Without the proper tools to analyze and interpret these data, they’re nothing more than just a useless pile of customer information. CRM transforms these data into a usable format business owners could easily understand.

Loyalty and point cards are so popular with businesses nowadays. Your wallet is probably stuffed with them. If you have a loyalty card for your grocery store then the chain store is tracking every purchase you make and putting it into their CRM.


Narrowing down potential customers and repeat customers

Some of your prospects can become your regular buyers and loyal customers over time. Such information about your customer can serve as your basis when making your projections about sales.

If a brand of soap gets sold more frequently to a certain  group of customers, your CRM can provide some answers and help you understand why this trend will continue on or if it’s just a short-term success.  


Maintaining contact with the customers

 CRM keeps track of your customers’ buying habits, interests, preferences, lifestyle, and other relevant information about them.  Some even have features that remind users to follow-up with customers in a timely manner such as Small Business Dream’s Action List.

One of the best ways to maintain good relationship with your customers is to show how much you value them . Thanking them through Facebook, Twitter, email or SMS for making your company a part of their experience can go a long way.


Understanding past and current trends

Hindsight is said to have a 20/20 vision. CRM goes further by allowing you to ‘see’ the future. Telecom industries provide a classic example of how changing trends can make or break a company.

During the heyday of telecom companies like Nokia, mobile phones are regarded mainly as communication devices. Nokia  had too much focus on their product line, all the while ignoring the competition and what the customers want for their mobile phones at that time.

By the time they realized it, they were on the verge of losing the market. They were too late. The once mighty telecom giant crumbled under its own weight and disappeared from the scene. The moral of the story? Don’t ignore the trends. Keep your eyes open and find out what is it that you’re missing out on.

Customer relationship management allows businesses to cut through the noise and “see the forest for the trees.”  Learn how CRM applications like Small Business Dream can make a difference for your small business.

To find out more about Small Business Dream visit our website at www.smallbizdream.com