There is no doubt that the recession is hitting everyone and as a result there are not many businesses that have not been affected so far. This is the time for the “Survival of the Fittest” and if you want to survive the recession you need to take action.
Most businesses are stuck with the idea that the only way to increase profits is to increase prices and some think that the only other way is to increase their customer numbers. Both of these two actions will increase your business profits if they are done in the right way, however, they are by no means the only ways in which to grow your business. In fact I have listed that there are actually 7 Ways to Grow Your Business.
When I have spoken to most business owners they usually say “We can’t possibly increase our prices!” “We will lose our customers!”. So this is out of the question as a way to improve cash flow and business profitability. Also, in the present climate businesses might be finding it difficult to obtain banking finance or business loans to help with cash flow, not only because of the banks reluctance to lend, but also the rates are not that favourable right now, despite the lowest bank base rate the country has ever seen!
Some businesses are put into a ‘Catch-22’ situation whereby they feel they cannot increase their prices for fear of losing their clients and they lack the funds to pay for the advertising necessary to get more customers. In a recession though, it is even more important to continue to advertise your services and products. However, to increase your sales and your profits, advertising is not the only way to do this…more of that later. What all businesses must do and in particular in a recession, is to make sure the advertising they are doing is working.
Is your advertising working?
So what do I mean by this? What you can measure you can manage, so for example, if you take out an advert in your local news paper, you need to train your staff to ask when enquiries come in, where the enquirer got your company details from. If your new advert is not working (as confirmed from the data gathered from your incoming phone calls), this could mean one of two things; either that the advertising medium is the wrong one for your type of business; or that the advert copy needs to be changed. If however, you are not monitoring your telephone calls, how will you know whether your advertising spend is working or not?
Let me take this opportunity to tell you about three of the 7 Ways to Grow Your Business and to introduce you to Profit Increase Software. Profit Increase Software has been designed on the basis that there are seven ways to grow your business – these seven ways do include price increases and increased customers. However, what is worth noting here is that some of the 7 Ways to Grow Your Business do not have to cost the earth to do – three of these seven ways are:
1. Increase the number of customers of the type you want to have – This is quite an obvious statement and it is not rocket science. We all know that the more customers we serve the more money we make, subject to those customers being profitable customers. “Customers of the type you want to have” means that we don’t have to take on all customers, as no business wants to deal with troublesome people or people that cost more in time than in what they spend at your business.
Well let me explain to you that increasing client numbers is not always the only way to increase profitability and in a well thought out change you can actually achieve higher profits in your business with fewer clients.
2. Increase the prices charged on your products – not always a good thing to do and especially not good in the middle of a recession. We see so many companies and mostly retailers having to apply heavy discounts to their products just to stay alive. I am not therefore suggesting at this point that you should necessarily increase your prices, however, it is worth reading my article about how I tripled my prices and made my business more profitable.
3. Increase the number of times customers come back – A must for all businesses is to capitalise on your greatest asset – “Your existing customers!”. If you maintain a customer database you can use this database to your advantage, by writing to your customers on a regular basis to entice them back to buy from you. you can use this client contact to tell them about any special offers or new products or services you have. Most business owners forget about their existing customers and try to attract more and more new ones. Let me tell you it is many times more expensive to market to potential customers than it is to people that have already purchased from you and are already a customer, assuming that their experience with your business was a good one.
There are in fact, four other ways to grow your business and these can be discovered in the manual that accompanies the Profit Increase Software. This software is easy to use and it has been written using Microsoft Excel. You will therefore require Microsoft Excel to run the software, but you only need a very basic knowledge of Excel to work it.
This software has been designed so that you can quite quickly and easily discover what you can do to increase your business profits. As an example, this software was used in a meeting with a client who was adamant that he could not extract any more profits from his business, but after three hours of
pouring over figures, using this software and brain storming ideas – we added £50,000 to his bottom line! Well, the software helped us to target where the extra profit was, which led the client on to think about how to achieve that extra profit. To date this same client is still operating the idea and making the extra profit, so his pay-back is probably in the region of £350,000, as this exercise was done back in 2002!
What is even more impressive about this profit increase is that it cost the business absolutely nothing to implement the change (well it cost them my fees) and did not involve any costly advertising or marketing. The idea was sitting right under the client’s nose, it took using this software to find it and to force the thought process required to realise that there was a very simple and straight forward way to increase profits.
As another example, this system was once used for a bakery which was having cash flow problems and they had gone to the bank for a loan to alleviate the problem. However, before they went to the bank they approached their accountant – who had luckily just purchased this system. The company was asking for help in putting business plans and cash flow forecasts together. However, the accountant spent a few hours with the client pawing over figures from the business and utilising this program. Within a short space of time worked out that they could quite easily remove the cash flow problem without the aid of a bank loan.
When the accountant and their client first played with the figures on the worksheets, they were looking at additional profits of around £80,000. However, when they set to work, the actual profits in the first year were under this amount and somewhere around £50,000. But the company did not need a loan and the cash flow problem was solved and the client was more than happy with his accountant! The bank might not have been happy though!
So if you would like to buy the Profit Increase Software click this link and get to work on surviving the recession – their might well be some extra profits sitting right under your nose too. If however, you would like to purchase some of my time to help you in this process then email me at [email protected]. My consulting charges are not cheap, and start at £1,495, plus VAT for the day, but if you look at the results that can be achieved here, these soon pale into insignificance when those extra profits start to role in!
See also – Are there any businesses that are recession-proof?
and: Cash flow is king!