10 Tips for Turning around Flagging Sales and Boosting your Small Business Revenues
by Caron_Beesley, Community Moderator
- Created: November 16, 2010, 4:45 am
If your sales are struggling and revenues are falling, it's essential to conduct a full review of your business to understand where things have gone wrong and where the opportunity lies for turning things around.
If yo;re a fan of reality TV business makeover shows, i-s
a formula you see all the time, from Gordon Ramsay to Tabatha Coffey, conducting
a full review of your business is essential to understanding where things have
gone wrong and where the opportunity lies for turning things around.
This is, of course,
easier said than done when you are living and breathing this stuff each day,
but here are some tips that can help you stand back from your day-to-day
business and build a plan for a successful turn-around.
1. As the Owner and Manager, It all Starts
honest, are you running your business as it should be run- holistically, with
an eye on strategy and a finger on oversight, but without being buried in the day-to-day
is a toughie, especially if you are new to business or have experienced sudden
growth. Running a business is not like having a job, unless you provide a very
niche service to a small group of clientele, i's rare that you can do
this is you - try to step back and understand where you need help, whether i's
with accounting, marketing, building a better business Web site, or empowering
your team, do it, i's worth the investment. If you ca't afford help in these
areas, consider outsourcing certain functions.
2. Embrace, rather than Retreat from Market Forces
and keeping a finger on the pulse of your industry is fundamental. Ask yourself' has the industry changed, do you still have a full grasp of the market and
goals in place to go after that market? What is the competition doing? If they
are doing well, take a hard look at what it is that you think your business is
doing wrong, in the light of what your competition across town is doing right.
Next find a way to re-connect with your target market using those lessons
learned - whether it's diversifying your products or correcting your price
points. Embrace, rather than retreat from market forces.
tips on getting a sneak a peek at the competition, or even snuggle up to
it, read: 5
Tips for Getting to Know Your Competition and using it to Your
3. Give Your Customers What they Want
of the hardest parts of running your own business, is giving customers what
they want, not what you think they want.
sounds obvious, but to go back to the Gordon Ramsay model, when Ramsay reviews
failing restaurants on his show Kitchen
Nightmares, he frequently finds that the reason so many restaurants fail is
that the restaurateur lacks a clear vision for his market, is not really in
tune with his customer needs, and ends up trying too hard to keep everyone
happy by offering hundreds of dishes but invariably fails because the
restaurant ca't prepare a single dish well.
4. Manage your Inventory
stores and restaurants have to manage inventory. If it does't shift it quickly
becomes money ill-spent and dated. Your
accountant can offer guidance on finding new and better ways to handle your
inventory, including re-stocking, and its impact on cash flow and
profitability, reporting inventory for tax purposes, warehousing, and how and
when to take inventory. Learn more in
Barbara Weltma's quick guide: 5
Things to talk to Your Accountant About.
5. Review your Pricing Policy
your cost base (constantly). Do you need to adjust pricing - how will this
impact your customer relationships? In
reality, a low pricing strategy may increase customer interest but
result in lost revenue, while a high pricing strategy may alienate
customers. For help with determining the best pricing plan for your
business, read Balancing
Profits and Customer Service: Tips for Determining Effective Pricing Policy
6. What's Your Image?
Perceptions are created based on several things - your
product, price, your service, ease of doing business with you, your location,
merchandising, and of course your marketing (signage, ads, Web site, etc.).
If you have doubts about your image, or want to shake things
up a little, small business blogger Rieva Lesonsky offers tips on how you can
use all these elements to enhance your
image and Get
the Customer Service Edge.
7. Revisit Your Business Plan and Plan Ahead
were your original goals and how did you plan on getting there? Have market
forces changed? Is there a new competitor in town? How is your budget? If it's going to take a new approach to get
where you need to be, make sure you revisit your plan, benchmark your goals,
and outline the elements that will help you get there (staffing, new markets,
8. Manage Cash Flow and Keep Good Records
you know where your money is going? Are
you budgeting wisely so that you know the interval of your monthly income and
outgoings? Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. If you need to get a
grip on your cash flow to help you ride the highs and lows of business read: Understanding
and Expanding Cash Flow.
9. Help Your Staff Help You Succeed
many ways of building successful teams that deliver exceptional customer
service and ultimately help add to the value of your brand and improve sales - from
employee incentive programs and empowerment activities, mentoring team members,
hiring motivated employees, and more. These two articles offer some
easy-to-implement techniques for building powerful teams in the small
- Growing your Business as a Team:
10 Team Building Tips from the Real World of Small Business
- Get More from Your Team - 5 Employee Incentive
Program Ideas that Pay Off
10. Get Help
outside help, whether it's in the form of free guidance or
mentoring from experts at SCORE, your local SBDC, or SBA office, can help
you objectively assess the state of your business and build an approach for
turning it around.
a Simple Business Plan can Get you from A to Z, and Navigate all Things
Something's Got to Give - Outsourcing Options for Your Growing Business
Tips for Finding and Working with a Mentor
Survival - Making it through the Early Years (a Year-by-Year Guide)
You Ready to Grow Your Business? - Five Tips to Help You Prepare for Growth
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General small business tips and tricks.