By PHYLLIS SNODGRASS
Growing your business is not just a goal worth pursuing – it should be the focal point of your efforts. Much like growing a garden, growing your business requires care, patience, and hard work. But the fruits of your labor will be stronger sales, positive customer feedback and positive cash flow. It’s not too late to resolve to grow your business in 08. Each of these strategies is tried and true – so roll up your sleeves and let’s get growing!
1. START WITH CURRENT CUSTOMERS. Start with the customers you already have. It’s not all about getting new customers! Working with the customers you have to increase sales is probably the easiest and sometimes most overlooked strategy. McDonalds does this well with their add on strategy “Would you likes fries with that order. How about an apple pie”? Oftentimes your customer has unmet needs that they have forgotten, asking them if they need another item is not pushy – it’s a helpful strategy that allows them to shift to considering an additional purchase. Quick pick items near a checkout are a simple way to allow customers to pick up something else they need (or want) while at your establishment.
2. ASK YOUR CUSTOMERS FOR HELP. This is an action oriented step that requires you to engage your current customers in expanding your reach. After a sale, ask your satisfied customer if there is someone he or she knows that might be interested in your product or service. Rewarding customers for referrals is another technique to encourage those customers to send more business your way.
3. SELL SOMEWHERE ELSE. Seems simple enough! Plant your seeds in a new field – and extend your presence. How can you do this? Open a new location or kiosk. Or establish a web presence with an online store. Try advertising in a new, potential market. Figure out first why they would want to choose your business, and then make sure you can deliver on your promise.
4. BUSINESS EXPOS AND TRADE SHOWS. Many chambers of commerce offer Business Expo’s which draw people who are likely are interested in the product or service you have to offer. Watch for PRIME TIME on February 28 – a mini business expo offered by the San Marcos Chamber to all new members who joined during the November record breaking membership event. And mark your calendars now for Business Expo 2008 scheduled for August 28, 2008.
5. MAKE IT NEW. Is there another use for your product or service? Often times we overlook new ways of selling old products – step back, evaluate and innovate! Sometimes with different packaging a product becomes new again.
6. PULL THE WEEDS!- Contain your costs and liquidate the “loser” products and services that choke the profits from your bottom line. Increasing your bottom line can be as simple as trimming your expenses! Your local Chamber of Commerce is a great source of low cost training programs, free business counseling and inexpensive networking events that help you achieve more with less.
7. EXPAND YOUR NETWORK – Make a commitment to grow your business through new leads in 2008. How? Attend chamber functions and sit with people you don’t know! Order a fresh supply of business cards and a name tag. Join a chamber sponsored LEADS group – and receive the support and encouragement of a group of business people like yourself that are committed to growing their businesses through leads and qualified contacts.
8. EXPORTING – Expansion into international markets can be a powerful boost to a business’s bottom line. The San Marcos Chamber is partnering with the San Marcos Hispanic Chamber and Texas State’s Center for Latin American Studies to offer a Trade Mission to Mexico in the Spring of 2008. For more information or to see if this opportunity is a fit for you – call the chamber today.
The San Marcos Chamber of Commerce is constantly on the lookout for new ways to help you grow your business. For more information on the Chamber and how we can help your business bloom – call today.
PHYLLIS SNODGRASS is president of the San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce.Email | Print