AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED
Five Ways to Fix Slow Business and
Give Yourself a BIG Second Chance
by: Dr. Kevin Nunley
would normally be a busy time of year for Margaret, but business is slower
than usual. She worries things will get ever slower in the months ahead.
Greg came up with a terrific idea for building a second income from the
Internet. Months later, his web site and advertising have only brought
in a few sales. He is afraid all his time, money, and enthusiasm were
I hear similar experiences
from dozens of people each week. Some are start-ups, others are mature
businesses. Most business ideas flop on the first try. The key to success
is knowing how to give yourself a BIG second chance. Sometimes you will
need to try a third or fourth time before your new product or service
brings home the bacon.
Here are five simple
ways to give your business new life.
Give your business a tighter focus. Many businesses are
too broad, trying to interest too many different kinds of prospects. Being
too general will leave you lost in a crowd. America has more stores than
at any time in history. Retailers are finding their markets split into
tiny fragments as shoppers have a bewildering choice of places to spend
their money. Meanwhile, the Internet is exploding.
Christmas spending in 1998 is 2.3 Billion dollars, twice what it was in
1997. All that money is divided among some 300 million web sites.
How do you compete
when there are so many others? Tighten your business focus to include
a narrow, very well defined audience. The man who sells John Denver memorabilia
from the 1970s has a very specific, almost peculiar business. But he is
selling his product like crazy on the Internet. He is filling a niche
that deeply interests a particular group of people.
Make your prices more competitive. For the past few years consumers
have told us they want quality and service with price being much less
important. The tightening of the economy has changed that. Now consumers
are ranking price as one of the most important reasons they buy from one
business and not from another.
Think of ways
you can tighten your belt or redefine your product or service to offer
it at a lower cost. Maybe you can limit your service to fewer, but still
important features. Perhaps your prices are already lower than competitors.
You just need to emphasize your lower prices more in your marketing. Lower
prices are suddenly an
important way to get people to buy.
Choose the product or service that sells best for you,
then expand it. Go wide and deep. Offer more versions of the
same product or service. If the green one is selling well, come out with
a red one and a blue one to offer along side your start performer. Look
for more related products or services you can offer. I write press releases
for people. I have also found those same people want me
to write articles for them. That is a related service I can offer along
with the popular press release service.
Sharpen your marketing materials. With all that competition
in the business world, you profit when your marketing and advertising
stands out and hits home with consumers. Give all your marketing pieces
a headline. Busy prospects need a way to quickly find out "what's
in this for me" before they will take the time to read your
sales letter, brochure, classified ad, or web site.
Relate the features
of your product or service to the benefits the buyer will get. Your "Widget
900" has a clever lever. Tell prospects how that lever will save
them time, money, and make their day more enjoyable. It is the benefits
that your buyers really care about.
Take a closer look
at where you are putting your advertising dollars. It is tempting to place
all your cash into big media that reach a lot of people, but are all those
people your best prospects?
Marketing is generally
more effective when it can be closely targeted to a well defined audience.
If your audience is made up of lots of your best customers, you get sales.
Consider advertising in trade publications, email newsletters, and neighborhood
papers. Postcards are cheap and prospects read them without having to
open an envelope.
Expand your promotional effort. It takes a LOT of advertising,
marketing, and promotion to get into the heads of your busy prospects.
People are constantly bombarded with ads and commercials. You need to
hit your best prospects over and over again before your message sinks
Look for several ways
you can CONSISTENTLY market your business. Find affordable methods that
reach your best customers and use those methods over and over again. When
marketing doesn't work, it is almost always because the business ran out
of money and gave up too soon.
Give your business
a big second chance. The children's story of the "little engine that
could" might as well be a $1,000 business seminar. The best way to
clobber competition and build your business into a cash cow is to give
your business a tight focus, make prices more
competitive, expand what works, improve marketing materials, and promote
big and consistently.
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