Every business has its ups and downs. And there are countless ways to economize, strategize, and even take out a loan in a pinch. But you know if you put company expenses on a credit card then you’re simply deferring the pain. Borrowing money because your business isn’t profitable just isn’t workable long-term.
You need new revenue!
You may think that’s easier said than done, but every one of the tactics I outline below are ones I’ve used myself to drum up new business and make my bottom line much healthier. You can do it too.
1. Reach out to other local entrepreneurs
We hear a lot about “shopping local,” but we all know we could do more. One of my favorite strategies has been to look to fellow business people in my area and offer a trade – my customers for theirs. Now I would never advocate sharing customer information without express permission, but that’s not what I’ve done. Say your friend runs a residential cleaning biz and you own a wine shop. You put a stack of your friend’s business cards on your counter offering a free cleaning quote, and your friend hands out your card to cleaning clients for a discount on wine. Two local businesses work together to drum up new business and see new faces without the expense of advertising.
2. Find a new niche
Let’s stick with the wine shop example. Say your business is flat and you’re desperate for new customers. Start thinking outside the typical base of customers who shop with you because you’re next to their grocery store. What if you approached some local realtors and offered to provide welcome gifts to new homebuyers at a discounted rate? You could tap into a huge well of easy, repeat business. Pop into a local bridal store and see if you can capture some lucrative wedding catering business. The key is to look for an area to distinguish yourself and become a specialist.
3. Ask your staff
Just because you’re the business owner that doesn’t mean you have to generate all the ideas. You’ll never know what your staff can contribute unless you take the time to solicit and listen to their suggestions. Inspiration can come from surprising sources.
4. Redirect old phone numbers
I just love this little trick. Get the phone numbers for businesses in your industry and area that have closed up shop, call the phone company, and have those numbers redirected to yours. That way when someone calls their old wine shop (that they don’t realize has closed,) they get you. When I’ve used this strategy in the past, I’ve prepared a special offer for those redirected customers to make them feel welcome and give them a reason to try me out.
5. Jack up your prices
I’ve had great results when I’ve created a premium offering – a high-tier package that I offer to my very best customers. Though consumers can be price-conscious, they also want to feel like they’re getting good value. Giving them a top-of-the-line option can bring in new revenue.
When you’re in a cash crunch the best way to solve it is to create new revenue streams. In addition, once you’ve resolved your temporary crisis, I advise taking a big-picture look at your company and ensuring it’s running as profitably as possible so you can head off future problems.
Mike Michalowicz (pronounced mi-KAL-o-wits) started his first business at the age of 24, moving his young family to the only safe place he could afford – a retirement building. With no experience, no contacts and no savings he systematically bootstrapped a multi-million dollar business. Then he did it again. And again. Now he is doing it for other entrepreneurs. Mike is the CEO of Provendus Group, a consulting firm that ignites explosive growth in companies that have plateaued; is a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; is MSNBC’s business make-over expert; is a keynote speaker on entrepreneurship; and is the author of the cult classic book, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. His newest book, The Pumpkin Plan has already been called “the next E-myth!”