Many Business Bulldog readers know that I like to build on what already works. I was asked by a franchisee recently what “magic bullet” I was going to provide that would increase his sales by double digits. I responded that any magic bullets would already be in his “gun”. What is the “magic bullet”? Let’s break it down into the parts.
When you say you want to grow your business, I have to ask “Why?”.
No, I am not making fun of you or trying to make a joke. I have reasons for every question. If you want to grow your business because you are ready for it, then I am ready to take you to the next level. If you are trying to survive and cover your costs, we are going to go in another direction.
Covering costs and surviving is a trying time for a business owner. Bad decisions are made when you are desperate. I want to see why you aren’t more profitable and what is working well. Both are needed to plot a path to growth. But, it is growth without adding any more to your costs or structure. No need to go further in debt to build a business. There are things you can do to grow without changing your budget.
The first “magic bullet” is to look backwards. Were you successful when you started and then things leveled off or slipped?
Enthusiasm is a great tool as long as you can maintain it. My new book, which should be for sale later this year, has a whole chapter on this kind of enthusiasm. Customers want to be part of something exciting. They feed off your passion for your new store and want to help you grow it. What happens after the newness wears off, though, is that the energy dies and so does your growth. Can you bring it back? Yes. Do you have the same level of energy that you started with? No. The way to bring the energy back to to share the responsibility and make your team as enthusiastic as you were. That way, you can have a room full of people who can show that you are still building a great business.
How do you get your team to be enthusiastic?
Stop pushing it. You are a great demotivater. Your stress bleeds onto everyone you come near. It’s like sneezing. No one wants to be near someone sneezing. So, stop pushing them to look, act, and sound a certain way. Let them be creative and they will impress you. This will only work if you trust them. That means that you have to trust yourself. Did you hire the right people for the right reasons? I bet you did. Let them show you what they can do to be passionate about your business. This is the number one reason why people stay happy at work. They are contributing and they make a small part of the business theirs by adding their personality.
Where do I go for new customers?
Finding new customers when you have been in business for a while is tough to see from inside your store. I am stunned by the number of business owners who follow paths and never step off them. You know the paths you follow. I bet you haven’t thought of it but, you are a creature of many habits and that is why finding new customers seems ridiculously tough. Get out! Yes, I mean it. Leave your store and go down one block from your store and ask someone if they know where to find your business. No, do NOT tell them you are the owner. No, do not give them clues as to where your business is located. Just ask where you can find a good deli, salon, dry cleaners, or whatever industry you are in. When they can’t tell you or they have a different place in mind than yours, you now know how well you have been marketing.
Tell me your story. Every business has a story…or should.
I don’t care that you are “The Best Deli in Town!” Every deli can be the best deli in town. What is your story? What makes you different? Why would I go there and spend money? That is what I want to know. If you can’t tell me a good story about your store, I can’t see you. You want a magic bullet? Here it is. I will go out of my way to visit a place that can spin a tale of wanting to serve me.
Ask for the sale and invite them back.
Is that too simple? Yes, I guess it is. But, it is the number one reason your sales fell. You and your team stopped asking for the sale and really asking for the customers to return. I worked with a haircare business that was rampant with employees who could not ask for the sale or invite customers back with any kind of drive. They have some great marketing, but they too will sink like a rock once the next salon moves in next door. As an owner, your job is to get the customer into the store. Your next job is to make sure your employees ask for the sale. When that doesn’t happen, you have random people walking through your store thinking about buying products online. Train and keep training and make your team know that anything less than asking for the sale means you are fired.
Inviting back the customer is under the same directive as asking for the sale. If you don’t do it, you are fired. I won’t keep someone on staff that doesn’t want to do their job. They are time wasters and need to go as fast as you can get them out the door. You are in business to sell and get customer back soon. Don’t let the excuses get in the way of your success.
There are more “magic bullets” but starting with these will get you on the right path. My question is: What do you need to change the direction your company is headed in? Send me a note at CEO@BusinessBulldog.com and let me know.