A lot of businesses are finding it very hard to stay on top of things in the current financial climate and are finding that they need to work harder to earn less money at the moment. That’s because their customers have less money to spend and because prices of basic supplies and equipment have gone up. Consequently it is important that a business adapts to these new times and goes that extra mile in every area of the business, from customer service to marketing to research and planning. This article will look at a couple of ways businesses can stay on top and maintain profitability when times are tough.
Firstly, as a business owner you need to be able to recognize change. This means being aware of changes in the economy, in the industry you work in, in the market and in the pockets of your customers. Be aware of the changes in the neighborhood that your business operates and be ready to change with it.
Next, be prepared to make those changes in small steps. Ease into the new market so that you are careful not to alienate your old customers. As an example, if you run a camera repair shop and still have a lot of film customers, then don’t go completely digital and alienate all your old clientele. Do both for a couple of years or until your old customers have all made the move over to digital too.
Also, don’t be afraid to grow into different areas of business. If you get customers regularly asking about video cameras and you recognize a potential source of income there, then embrace that growth opportunity and start stocking video cameras too. Do the training and learn about the video camera market and repair and you will soon have a third string to your bow.
However, when making these changes remember to always stay true to the core values of your original shop and the business methods and ethics that brought you to this point. If you never did cash deals that didn’t go on the books, then don’t start now just because times are harder. Stick to your principles and your customers will respect you for it and you will avoid any unnecessary problems with the IRS.
The most important thing however is to remember to constantly focus on your customers and your customer service. If there is one thing that will make a difference in a recession it is customer service. Where everyone else will compete on prices (which you will have to do too) you can keep your business profitable by being the best there is and offering the reassurance of reliable, honest and decent customer service that has always been there. If people believe ‘we’re all in it together’ and you give them a reason to keep coming back to you – they trust you and know you won’t let them down if something goes wrong – then they will do exactly that.