Although 2020 has been a very strange year that will never be forgotten – life, and business, has to go on.
It’s time for business entrepreneurs to #takestock – time to decide if and what business you want to keep, or what new business prospects to pursue in 2021. With the past months of restaurant and retail restrictions, curfews, and general cut backs on spending and with Holiday shopping over – people are trying to get back to normal – if there is really a return to normal. Most feel that we will have to accept a #newnormal, especially for businesses.
ALL businesses were affected and more of a negative impact has been, and is, being felt by small locally owned businesses.
It’s time to take stock and see if you can adjust your business services to fit with the lower budgets, and smaller number of clients to go around. Owners will be much more careful of how and where, and with whom, they spend their limited budgets.
Look at what you offer in a new light– try to see it from the prospective of an owner who has a limited budget to spend. See if YOU were doing the buying or contracting for services, would this be what you could afford and bring you the results you want? While it’s still true that you have to spend money to make money – it does have to be a carefully thought out decision.
A lot of small local businesses have closed, and more will unfortunately close in the coming year . Make sure what you do business-wise is really what you want to be doing. MANY entrepreneurs are looking at new services to offer. If you can position your product or service to really help a business owner not only stretch his budget, but truly help keep them in business and eventually grow.
We all need our salespeople, service people, entrepreneurs, suppliers and small, locally owned businesses to help keep the local economy thriving – we need to have all the $$$ we spend stay local.
No one can actually tell you what to do in your business for the new year and changed conditions, you have to sort of “go with your gut” and not make decisions while in panic mode.
We have a few more days before business life starts back up the first full week of January. Make plans. Make lists. Then DO something – it is still better to do something, than nothing.
Here’s hoping and wishing we ALL have a better, healthy, happy 2021 both in our personal lives and careers – Happy New Year!
Many businesses, especially small and locally owned, need to use creative ways to promote. In a previous blog, I wrote about Cross Promoting with other businesses in your area.
This will talk about HOW to USE the information you gather. It’s a waste of time and money to just run a contest, give away a prize, get information and feedback and then do nothing with it.
Entry forms: if using to build database for future emails – name, phone and Zip Code are important. Gathering information on zip codes can tell you where the bulk of your customers live. It’s a good idea to start off the entry form “box” with a couple of empty folded forms – people will enter when they see other entries.
Using the information correctly is vitally important. You may want an outside eye on this – getting a Marketing Consultant who can interpret this info and use it to YOUR Advantage can be a HUGE ASSET to your business and save you money in the long run – while creating new customers and cash flow.
After the contest: you should send an email newsletter out to your database, about the contest that just ended, what the prize was and WHO WON it – just a first name and initial of last name – do not give out personal info! (You had already hopefully sent out info about the contest and how to enter to your existing database.)
SPECIALS and TEASER: Run a special that you can announce to get customers back in quickly. Tease to watch for details coming on NEXT CONTEST!
Sales info: use your sales information to see what products were popular during the contest timeframe, IF sales increased, and any other feedback you may have gotten from customers. Then highlight the item(s) by running a promotion or sale, possibly with a buy 1 get 2nd half price or combo a popular item in with a package of 2 or more other products.
Customer flow: ask your staff, or take note yourself, what the popular days and hours were – you could even use different color paper for the entry forms to track day and/or times of entries – then possibly have a Special on the Off-Hours.
Follow-Up: make use of the information gathered by running either a SALE or in-store special – give the customers a reason to come back. With the tight budgets right now during Covid, businesses need to give the buying public a reason to choose YOUR place over a competitor.
With so many brick and mortar stores closing and going on line, small businesses need to be pro-active in creating reasons for consumers to come into and shop, dine, use the services of small locally owned businesses.
Remembering your customers names if possible goes a long way in a customer returning and bringing others with them, especially in a restaurant. Everyone wants to feel a little special!
Owners cannot do it all – getting the right help is so important in keeping a business viable!