It can be very difficult as a small business owner to maintain all the balls in the air and keep the cash coming. Many small businesses find that the cash goes in peaks and troughs and that can usually be traced back to the process of spending time marketing, selling and networking which spends money – this will generate the trough, but these actions generate sales, the peaks and so you’ll expect to see a spurt of income. However, while you are generating that income there is little marketing, selling or networking going on as you are too busy working in the business delivering the service.
How can I improve things?
One question you may need to ask yourself is would you be better off using additional human resources to create a more consistent flow of sales into the business? There is a cost to this but there are always deals to be done and performance related rewards are one option.
The other thing you can do is to test which marketing methods work best for you and then concentrate on them. I am guessing that the best results will probably come from those you are already connected to and so social media can be a good solution. You just need to manage this to that you can schedule posts. Set some diary time aside for Socia media each week, maybe an hour or so and write your posts then schedule them to drip feed during the week. This will save you time and you can be marketing while delivering the services too.
You also need to know what your expenses are, have an intimate knowledge of these expenses, in this way you can avoid giving too much away. Have confidence in your product or service and make sure you have confirmed that the price is right. Pricing is not always about competing it is often about quality and value. Have a clear idea of how much margin you want to make from each sale and make sure you maintain that at all times.
To increase sales revenues you may also want to consider bundling products and services together. Think about add-ons that you can offer post the original sale that will benefit the customer and inspire them to spend a little more.
You will also want to try to encourage repeat business. It may be worth introducing some form of loyalty program or VIP offers. At the end of the day, the key is to understand what activities work and in what numbers they work and then devise a plan based on those numbers.
It’s all about the numbers
Know your KPI, these are so important. So, for example, I know for every ten people I talk to 2 will buy. I alas know that if I sell one unit I get £x. I know that my business needs £xxx and I want to take out of the business £xx. So I need to sell £xxxxxx. On that basis, I need to be talking to at least 30 people each week. I appreciate this is simplistic but often that is the best answer. So the best way to keep the cash flow coming is to:
- Have a good Plan
- Know your KPI
- Understand what works and what does not
- Do more of what works
- Schedule Marketing
- Outsource tasks that cost you too much in real terms