David Briese, BMO Business Centre.
David Briese, BMO Business Centre.

How to maintain a business vision in tough times

It’s a new decade in business with plenty of puns already circulating about the need to have “2020 Vision”. It’s a tricky time to be in business in regional Queensland – whether you’re in retail, service industry, agriculture or manufacturing – it’s not easy navigating this current climate.

Having a vision is vital when times are tough.

Many businesses are consolidating, cutting spending, focusing on their core business. While it can be frustrating, this isn’t always a bad thing. It forces us to go back to basics and look at things like the old 80–20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle. When we apply it to business, it suggests that 80% of your company sales come from 20% of your customers. Therefore, instead of spreading yourself thin, take this opportunity to concentrate a good portion of your marketing strategy and your marketing budget on your top 20%. Here’s some inexpensive things you can do to really ‘up the ante’ on your customer service experience and hold on to your loyal top 20%.

– Be careful not to let negativity be the message you are leaving with your shoppers or clients. Instead of talking about how there has been no rain, talk about positive things that are happening in the community or new products or services you are offering in your business.

– Write a hand written note thanking them for their custom or letting them know about an item that’s new in store.

– Host an exclusive function or special deal.

– Clean up your database and use if effectively. A good database will help you tailor direct mail to key market segments.

– Try fresh angle on social media, like running a hashtag campaign to engage fans or a competition to build your online fan base.

– Set up a referral reward for customers who refer a friend (get your customers working for you).

– Ask for feedback. Engage with you customers and get their thoughts on where you can improve. There are many ways you can drive sales during a down time. It’s not always easy, but resilience can be achieved by staying focused on your long term goals.

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