Have you ever hit a slump in your business? While having record high months is the best – what do you do when you have a series of lows… and things are slowing WAYYY down. If you’re struggling in a low period in your business watch today’s video to learn seven things you can do to turn things back around.
The holidays can be brutal…. Looking down at Christmas ham while on the inside you’re panicking if you’ll have a enough cash to make payroll. I don’t travel during the holidays anymore — it’s just too stressful. Instead, I visit my family in other times of year.
The word entrepreneur is a French word meaning, essentially, risk undertaker. Entrepreneurs create opportunities in situations which other people view resources as scarce. Having a slow time certainly isn’t fun – but it will happen – and here are seven things you can do to turn your business back around.
1) Stop the Bleeding
If your business is hemorrhaging cash, you need to cut any unnecessary expenses to stop the bleeding – now. Print out your bank statements, credit card statements, and expense reports and slash the expenses with a red pen that are not absolutely critical to your business. Then cancel them. Now. You can get this done in a surprisingly short amount of time – just do it. Ask your bookkeeper for help with this.
This could mean having a difficult conversation with a business partner or letting an employee go – which is the absolute worst feeling as an entrepreneur but something you MUST learn to do before you go out of business for being too dang nice.
2) Zoom Out – is this just a seasonal trend?
It’s possible that this is just a seasonal slump that you’re unaware of or maybe had just forgotten about.
If you have some history in your business, take a look at your year over year revenue in a line graph to see if you can spot a trend.
Use Google Trends
Another tool you can use is Google Trends. This will show you the search behavior on Google for keywords relevant to your business, and when you look at about 5 to 10 years of data you can sometimes spot a trend. Are people less interested in this service this time of year…. Or are people generally less interested in it overall (and maybe you need to change more than just your marketing).
If it is a trend — get ready to ride out the storm, and think about: what kind of offer can I make to my customers that would incentive them to take action during a season in which they’re normally not inclined to buy?
Manage YOUR mindset — eliminate YOUR head trash around “the holidays”, and help coach your team through this. Yes, we work 12 months a year and people buy from us. And then we vacation when we vacation. I start this months ahead of the holidays. It’s critical to exercise and eat well and sleep too.
3) Rally the Troops
One mistake I’ve made during tough times is to not tell anyone. It can feel embarrassing when your business is struggling. I’ve found that it’s best to talk with your spouse, partner, family — they probably know you’re stressed out and being honest is helpful vs. bottling it all up.
Let your key employees and managers know. See what ideas they have and how you will communicate this to your team. Be ready to lead. Let them know you’ve been through this before – if you have – and what the plan is. Address the elephant in the room.
Ask your team what ideas they have. Great employees will care and help you come up with good ideas to save costs and pull the company back up.
4) Create An Offer
There could be urgency and scarcity created to motivate customers to purchase. Sometimes you must create it! An offer does not have to be a discount – but it could be – such as booking a landscape installation NOW and paying a deposit to get priority scheduling for the following season. Another popular offer is a gift with purchase. Maybe you have four (4) VIP tickets to a sports game or an extra surplus of things — and you’ll award that as a gift with a certain number of orders.
5) Pick Up The Phone And Call Your Customers
At the Local Search Association’s 2016 Annual Conference, Google shared that it costs five to ten times more to sign up a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.
Repeat customers typically spend more – if you’ve done a good job – than new ones.
Call your customers on the telephone. Check in with them. Tell them about your offer. It may be different in your business – but I’ve found the telephone to be the #1 lever I can pull in my company to increase sales during a slow time.
It works best if you have an integrated, multimedia approach to get multiple touches in — personal emails, email newsletters, direct mail, phone calls, in person meetings — and EVENTS can be a great way to get this going.
6)Review Your Marketing
I just met with a 20-year-old business. They were top dog in their town, became market dominant, and then got lazy. They let their digital presence, among other customer service issues, totally slide. Competitors passed them up not only online but also in the market in general.
Recently, they lost a customer with a lifetime value of $1M — who said their poor website presence was one of their top reasons for leaving. I met with all the partners at the table and broke the news: you’re the lowest rated in your industry in your town.
Thankfully, they took the information to heart, immediately took action with improving customer service, started hustling to get better reviews, and engaged Ramblin Jackson to lift their brand up online. I can’t wait to make a case study with these guys a year from now about their transformation.
As Henry Ford famously said, “A man who stops advertising to save money is a man who stops a clock to save time.”
7) Remember, You’re Not Alone
Being an entrepreneur is weird. It can be lonely. People who are employees just don’t experience work in the same was entrepreneurs. It’s crucial that you find a network of people like you. For me – it’s some friends who run digital agencies that I’ve met at conferences that I keep in touch with, my father-in-law, and some folks from Jason Swenk’s group.
Two years ago – about this time – I almost quit. I emailed one of my business coaches, Jason Swenk: Should I close my agency?
Jason reminded me of the Navy Seals — when you think you’re maxed out, you’re only at 40%.
Jason almost went out of business, turned it around, sold it, and when I heard that it inspired me to keep going.
I bought his Agency Playbook product, joined his coaching program, implemented some BIG changes — and two years later more than doubled the profit. This was not something I did alone — the Ramblers were a huge part — and you can hear about it in my interview about the 6 Changes That Turned My Business Around on Jason’s Top 10 Marketing Podcast.
Find a Good Coach, Hunker Down, and Sell Something
There’s likely nothing in your business that someone else hasn’t already experienced — so find a good coach and some peers who understand your industry and get through it. There are few problems in business that money can’t solve (unless you’re still hemorrhaging cash and not profiting) — so get to it and sell something!
Want Me To Take A Look At Your Marketing With You?
If you’d like for the Ramblin Jackson team to take a look at your marketing to see how we can help you grow your sales, contact us for a Million Dollar Marketing Meeting.