Small business survival

survivalI was walking in my local area the other day when I noticed a business had closed down after 30 years. I thought back to my childhood, when we used to visit that business as a family.

It made me question why some businesses survive and others don’t. This particular business hadn’t changed much in 30 years. It still looked the same.  

Yet nothing stands still, everything changes!  Just as Darwin observed that only the fittest creatures could survive, so it is for business. What was a great idea a few years ago may now be obsolete or irrelevant. Then there’s competition – you may have been the only hairdresser in the area 10 years ago and now you’re one of many. 

Small business survival.

So how do you stay ahead of the game, and not only survive but thrive?  Here are a few ideas:

Re-think your target audience. The demographics in your local area may have changed in the last few years, so consider tweaking your offer or changing your hours of trading.  If your neighbourhood is now full of prams, offer a ‘kids eat free’ early dinner hour at your restaurant.

Review your current product or service offering. What else can you sell that complements what you’re currently selling or doing?  Why not add manicures to your hairdressing service, so people have something else to do while they wait for their foils to set.

Upgrade the look and feel of your premises. If you’re competing with new and existing business in the area, make sure it’s still inviting. Add a bit of theatre to your retail shop window, or at least a fresh coat of paint to the walls.

What are your competitors doing?  Put yourself in your customer’s shoes – play mystery shopper and experience what your competitors are offering. You may be surprised.

Survey your customers.  Ask them what they think – is there something you could do better?  Is there a new product or service they’d like to see? If you provide a service, follow up with a request for feedback and give your customers an incentive to reply such as a future discount or gift voucher.

Customer loyalty is so important. Your best source of extra sales is your current customer base. So take the time to thank them, remember birthdays or special ocassions and make them feel special! And if they’re happy and feel loved, give them a reason to recommend you to others.

None of these ideas require a big budget or fancy technology. But if you’d like some help making them work for your business,  please give us a call

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