However, unfortunately there is a chance that sometimes - no matter what you do - you'll go through a dry patch and you just won't be able to get customers in the door and onto your books. It'll seem like nothing you do will turn to gold.
I don't want to come across all negative or anything in this post, I just want to make you aware that this can happen. More importantly, there are steps you can take to make this process less painful and possibly even of benefit to your business.
So, how can you turn a dry spell into a positive thing? Here are 5 things you can do to help get the sales coming in again.
1) Don't Panic, Be Proactive
This is probably quite obvious, although it's really important to remember not to panic or react rashly. For example, worrying about a dry spell and then quickly deciding to spend 5k on printed advertising as a quick fix is unlikely to help improve your situation. As I said at the start of this post, this will happen to everyone and every business at some point so the best thing to do is to stay calm and look at the situation objectively.
A good place to start is with evaluating what you are currently doing with your marketing.
2) Re-Evaluate What You Are Doing
I think a common problem among small business owners is that we sometimes find it hard to admit that what we are doing isn't the best way it could be done. This also hold true for the marketing process - if you've noticed that enquiries and customers have stopped coming through the door, it's time to swallow your pride and fix what needs sorting.
You might also find this post useful, which is around what you can do if your marketing strategy isn't working properly.
3) Look At Your Competition
If you've noticed a marked drop in business, it could be that one (or a few) of your competitors are kicking butt. Therefore, it makes sense for you to keep an eye on your competition so that you know what they are doing and if they are beginning to take a larger than normal share of the market.
I don't mean that you should be completely reactive and change your business model every time you see your competitors are doing something else, but if you notice that they've done something that means you are losing the majority of your bread and butter work (think of Apple and Blackberry) then it's best you know so you can react accordingly.
4) Ask Your Existing Customers About Their Experience With You
Another thing to consider would be the experience that your existing customers are having with your business and service. Perhaps you aren't doing something as well as you should be and it's spreading around your local area. This would perhaps be an extreme case, although if you have suffered a large drop in business, it's best to be safe and check off every possibility.
5) If You Are Web Based, Have You Been Naughty?
Finally, if you are a web based business - or if you reply on your website for most of your leads - have you been a bit naughty and tried to game the search engines? It could be that you've been caught out by one of Google's filters of updates (as I write this, we are waiting to see the effects of Penguin 2.0). If so, it's important that you get busy and try to find out where the problem is. For example, is it thin/duplicate content, link spam, overuse of keywords, etc. If you can't do this yourself, you could ask a local freelancer for help.
Hopefully the above will give you an idea of where to start in terms of getting the sales coming in again. Just to recap, here are the main points:
1) - Don't panic, do something smart and proactive
2) - Re-evaluate your current marketing process - this post might help
3) - Have a look at your competition - are they doing something different/new?
4) - Ask your existing customers for feedback about their experience with you
5) - Make sure you're not being penalised online if you rely on this for your leads
By Alan MacDougall
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Revenue Builder is a small business marketing strategy and tips blog designed to help small business owners and startups maximise sales revenue.