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10 Tips for Turning around Flagging Sales and Boosting your Small Business Revenues

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10 Tips for Turning around Flagging Sales and Boosting your Small Business Revenues

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: November 16, 2010

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
With You

    Be
    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
    minutiae?

    This
    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
    everything yourself.

    If
    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

      Understanding
      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.

      For
      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
      Advantage.

      3. Give Your Customers What they Want

        One
        of the hardest parts of running your own business, is giving customers what
        they want, not what you think they want.

        It
        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

          Retail
          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

            Review
            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
            Practices.

            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

                What
                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,
                etc.).

                8. Manage Cash Flow and Keep Good Records

                  Do
                  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

                    There are
                    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
                    business workplace:

                    10. Get Help

                      Getting
                      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.

                      Related Articles

                      About the Author:

                      Caron_Beesley
                      Caron Beesley

                      Contributor

                      Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

                      Comments:

                      This of course is easier said than done when you're living and breathing this stuff every day, but here are some tips to help you feel back on everyday business activities and build a plan for a successful turn-around. Running a business is like having a job if you give a very niche service to a small group of customers, it is rare that you can do it all yourself.
                      If you are running a online business through a website than I must say that, to have a proper SEO of your website so that you can get traffic on your website.
                      Thank you very much for these good tips!

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