Today I did what many of us will class as insane by telling a professional colleague to throw all of their unpaid bills into the bin and request for new ones. I know what you may be thinking, am I nuts?
Summer is a joyful season for many who get to visit nice places; take a break to forget the icy cold winter months. Barbeque party invitations are at their peak; festivals, carnivals and raves are at large.
Unfortunately in most businesses, especially start-ups this could be one of the worst times of the year.
Running a business can be a challenge during the quiet times of the year. Regardless of the operating conditions and revenue your staff, suppliers and overheads still expect to be paid correctly.
As human beings, it is natural to feel the burnout, demotivation and stress.
When you are the owner of a company you can’t afford to snooze because no one likes to lose.
Small business owners or service providers often find themselves slaving to meet the growing customer’s demand. This is also a period that can also be bad for running any marketing campaign as most prospective customers are mostly on holiday.
It becomes obvious that you are working in your business rather than on your business.
To answer the question ‘Why did I ask my colleague to shred the bills?’; following a series of financial hardships including her motor vehicle being stolen and costing just over £1000 to recover from the police garage, this along with other unforeseen bills can derail most startups into the path of failure.
So what can you do instead to prevent your precious creation from becoming a failure?
- Research your industry: Identify your business’ quiet period. If you put together a well-researched business plan this should be helpful as a guide.
- Set a number for a sales target and monetise it: If your business is, for example, a website company in Manchester you have to meet a sales target each month and always try to secure additional prospects who are willing to pay the deposit, usually 25-50% of the full quote and those who are also willing to wait a bit longer for the work to be completed for a discounted rate.
- Retainer: Model your add-on products and/or services in a retainer process e.g. in the case of a website design company: if 30 customers are paying you £49.99 for ongoing technical and maintenance support, this could generate you £17,996.40 in revenue a year.
- Revisit your existing customers: Many businesses miss these little sales opportunities, they concentrate too much on new customers. Did you know you can make an additional 20% or more by routinely checking up on your existing customers and showing that you sincerely care for their business? Enlighten them on new products or let them know the benefits of referring another customer to you etc.
- Scaling with your team: This is not applicable to every industry, however agencies, publications, healthcare, education sectors etc. can benefit from this practice. You can make use of freelancers and consultants on a need basis. When you forecast quiet month(s) ahead, you are not obliged to commission work out leaving you with fewer outgoings from staffing.
I hope these tips help you improve your revenue and grow your business as it has helped me grow my businesses over the years.
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