Plan your way out of a Business slump

Before it was quoted in “Best Marigold Hotel” John Lennon said…

“Everything will be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end”

If you’re in a slump right now here are some proven strategies to help you climb out and get back on top…

Get pens and paper – you’ll need to plan it out and write this down by hand, not on your computer. Let your imagination run wild, no limits. Write, doodle and draw your way out of the slump.

  1. Work out exactly what the slump is and what’s causing it
    • Have you lost your Mojo? Are you bored with your business and need a new direction?
    • Are you in financial stress – are you making more than you are spending or is there something else worrying you? Do you have enough customers?
    • Is it a market trend or industry trend? Is it affecting all businesses or just yours / your industry?
  2. Once you’ve identified the cause of the slump, you can start to find solutions. Never slip into the mindset of making “everything” to blame.
    • If you’ve lost your Mojo – what would need to happen for you to get it back? A new project, new direction, new products /services? Do you have someone to talk to – a coach or mentor or clued-up friend?
    • If money is the problem, sit down with your accountant or someone very money-savvy to get a true and accurate picture of what’s happening. Set a budget and set financial projections for income. Include the actual strategies you need to work through to fix the finances.
    • If it’s a “trend” in your industry – decide if it’s a fatal trend or just a blip on the radar. Do you have the strength to work through it? Again, brainstorm solutions with a trusted adviser. You won’t have all the answers locked up in your own head.
  3. The most important thing to do right now takes the emotion out of it. Things don’t stay the same… you haven’t reached the end yet. Stay in the present as much as you can… focus on what is in the “now” and what you can do in this moment to feel better and more positive about the slump.
  4. And if you feel you can’t do anything right now in this moment, accept that you can’t. That doesn’t mean that you won’t tomorrow. Be nice to yourself and take a breather even if for a short time. Your brain will thank you for the rest and will work on finding solutions instead of you forcing your way through. If it feels like walking through treacle, stop! Back out!
  5. After all your brainstorming, if you feel that this business is not right for you, you don’t have to stay it in you know. Tweak it and adjust it if you can, but if your heart’s not in it, it’s OK to move on. Find a way out and set a new direction.

On a personal note, I’ve had 11 businesses over 35 years – not all of them were spectacularly successful so I changed them, molded them into something more enjoyable or sold them or closed them. That’s how I learned to be a business coach, only I didn’t know it at the time!

There are no failures, only learning opportunities.

If you need a hand with this – Try my Perfectly Simple Business Plan

Your Step by Step Business Plan Checklist

People think business plans are only for new businesses – and yes, they are a brilliant way to encapsulate all you want to achieve in your fledgling business, BUT even if you’ve been in business for 5, 10, 15, 20 years or more – a really good well thought-out strategic business plan is going to make the world of difference.

Why?

Because things change!

The market changes, the economy changes, fads come and go and your competitors are always nipping at your heels… just waiting for you to lose enthusiasm, drop the ball or put the blinkers on and pretend that it’s okay to do business in the same old way!

A really good business plan is a living document that you refer to regularly and update annually. It must light your entrepreneurial fire – otherwise you’ve got the wrong plan.

What goes into a basic business plan checklist?

  • MONEY: Start with the end in mind. How much revenue, how much profit, and how much do you want to pay yourself?
  • PRODUCTS, SERVICES: Are they staying the same or do you need to change course, cull or reinvent?
  • CUSTOMERS: Still the same target markets or do you need to drop some and entice others?
  • TEAM: Who are your best players? Do you need more like them and less of the ones who are dragging the business down? What training do they need this year?
  • MARKETING: When you know who your customers are you’ll find it much easier to design marketing strategies to attract and keep them. DON’T start your business plan with marketing – don’t even go there until you know what the money goals are and who your ideal customers would be.
  • SALES: Set some projections to achieve your financial goals. Do you need training to get better at sales? The answer is usually yes!
  • BUSINESS GROWTH: Premises, location, online, offline, new markets, new strategies or consolidation
  • WORKFLOW, POLICIES, PROCEDURES: What would make your business run more smoothly?
  • SPECIAL PROJECTS: The ones you’re itching to get to but never seem to find the time. Put it in the plan to get it done.
  • YOU: Are you working in your ideal Core Genius role? If not, what needs to change?
  • YOUR VISION: Why this, why now, why YOU!

Now you could sit and nut this out on your own – it may take you some time and your brain might go into overload and start arguing with you…

OR you could get it done in just one day at The Perfectly Simple Business Plan workshop

Your call.

I’m here when you need me.

Ignoring these financial indicators could cause serious risk to your business!

There are tell-tale signs in your business that will give you an indication of how you’re tracking. Is business up or down? Are we making money or not?

You’re profit and loss statement is a good place to gather this vital information. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • The obvious one is – tracking your sales. Are they going up or down? Have they flat-lined?
    • Compared to what? Last month? Last quarter or last year? How similar were the conditions in that period? Are you comparing apples with apples?
  • It costs you more each month to deliver your products or service: Track your Cost of Sales. Up down or sideways? Do you know why? Buying too much product or your team not being productive enough could be the cause.
  • Your Gross Profit and Net Profit go down and your fixed expenses go up! Track them using the same method and fix this fast!
  • You only look at the “bottom line” of your P&L report. The numbers look OK but you don’t know how the business is trending. Don’t just track the NUMBER, track the PERCENTAGE of turnover.
    • E.g if you made $500k in Sales (turnover) and a 10% net profit you would have made $50,000.
    • If you made $50,000 Profit on $600k turnover you would have made 8.3% profit. If you watch that % month by month you can see what’s happening to your profitability. Track the % to see if it is going up down or sideways.
  • You take the profit as your unofficial “salary”. If you haven’t formally paid yourself a wage or salary it won’t appear on your P & L, so if your pay comes out of the profit and you take it all, you won’t have anything left for tax or growth or emergencies. Talk to your accountant about this and do a budget.

Learn to love the numbers! They are your friends. They can help you grow your business and they can prevent you from getting into trouble.

5 Practical Tweaks That Make Your Sales Go Through The Roof

It would be nice if sales automatically popped into your business without you having to think about it wouldn’t it? Imagine, money just pouring into your bank account.

Some people will tell you that you can have “passive income” effortlessly and easily without having to do too much at all.

I hate to burst your bubble but if you really want to see your sales go through the roof you’ll need to work at it!

While I do agree that you can set up “passive” systems and adjust your mindset to allow the flow of money into your life and business, there is a lot more you can do than just working on “closing the sale”.

Here are 5 practical things do implement to start getting better sales results:

1. Make sales a strong focus in your business

Making Sales is not incidental to a business – it’s the oil in the machine! Give it due care and consideration. Set sales targets and measure the results you’re getting.

Keep tabs on the number of leads you get, your conversation rate – from prospect to sale and the average amount of your sales on a daily weekly monthly basis.

Assign the responsibility for Sales to a specific person – the buck stops with them. If you have a team who need to also make sales, hold them more accountable to it. Train them if they’re not confident.

2. Have a specific sales process

Most businesses have haphazard sales processes. What’s yours? Do you have a flow chart with every step mapped out and who does what? More sales are lost from inefficient sales systems than possibly anything else.

Do you have a pre-sales system? What do you send a prospective client before they meet you?
(HINT: it should be something that addresses their fears, frustrations, and desires, NOT your company brochure or “all about me” info. Make it about THEM!

What do you do during the sale? What specific steps do you take to surprise and delight your customer? Elegant Selling is like dancing – you both take part.

What happens after the sale is made? Does the client know what to expect next? Do you have a process for happens next?

What happens when you lose the sale? What do you do? Walk away, blame the prospects and never talk to them again? Or do you hang in there and keep the relationship alive? If you really want this client to start a “nurture” sequence to keep them interested, informed and “learning” your way.

3. Stop being busy and go make a sale

It’s so easy NOT to make sales if it’s not your natural strength. You could look and feel very busy with marketing activities; newsletters, Facebook, blogging – there’s plenty to distract you and make you look busy without being effective.

Face to face time with prospective clients is the only sure way of getting an answer and the most effective way of influencing what that answer will be.

Don’t wait for customers to come to you. Look at your diary right now, allocate some time to make phone calls or set up meetings with people who could actually buy from you – no fudging this one: until your sales improve only invest time with people who can actually say “yes”.

4. Get other people to sell for you – affiliate marketing

You can double, triple even 10x your sales by having other people selling for you.

Have affiliate relationships with other business owners who sell a related product. Set it up so that they get a commission on every sale you make to someone they have referred.

This is a highly leveraged way of reaching out to prospective customers who are not in your network or not on your database. You get a nice warm recommendation from a business friend and the referee feels confident that you will look after them.

DON’T make it all about the money – make sure you are giving and getting the best referrals to ideal clients.

Think of the commission you give to the affiliate as marketing dollars well-spent

5. “Don’t change your act, change your audience.”

I first heard this from Lisa Sasevich, whose father was a world famous ventriloquist.

If you’re struggling to make sales in a crowded market place aim higher, not lower.

If you are confident that the product or service you offer could be of benefit to a different set of customers then adjust your prices and start marketing to a more affluent customer.

It might take a bit of courage to make the leap but start by making a list of all the people and organisations you could be doing business with.

Do your homework! Have some conversations with anyone you know in related industries to find out how to approach that market. Take some action, Google them, make some calls, send some letters and go to events to rub shoulders with these new prospective clients.

Selling didn’t come easily and naturally for me until I started to see it differently. It can be a learned skill and you can actually get to like it. I did! In fact, I like it so much I teach it to business owners, particularly in the Professional Services sector like accountants and lawyers.

Elegant Selling

[button_4 size=”large” color=”blue” align=”center” href=”https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/paulinebright.com/Elegant+Selling.pdf” new_window=”Y”]If you’d like a copy of my Free e-book     “Elegant Selling” CLICK HERE[/button_4]

 

You’ll learn

  1. How to Make More Sales effortlessly and easily
  2. How to write and use Simple Sales Scripts
  3. How to ask Great Questions and give Great Answers
  4. How to handle Objections and feelings of Rejection

5 Money Making Strategies Even If You Think You’re No Good At Numbers

Before you do anything to do with money you may need to change your mindset and language about money. Start talking about money in the positive and drop the negative thoughts and feelings and words you use about money.

Stop telling yourself you’re no good at money and numbers and start telling yourself you’re on the way to learning more about money and numbers.

Then employ these 5 money making strategies to help you make more money.

1. Multiple transactions

If you say “Thank you and goodbye” to your customers after a transaction you may be losing one of the best opportunities to help your customers get more of what they really want – and put money in your bank.

Say “thank you and hello – invite your customers to join your community of happy clients so you can keep in touch with them.

2. Sell what makes money

If you have a range of products or services at different price points, think about this: top sales people will tell you that it often takes about the same amount of time and effort to sell one BIG thing than one small thing, provided you are speaking to the right customer. And if they want the small things why not bundle them together to make a big sale – think “upsell”. You won’t know unless you offer.

You might be spending too much time attracting small clients instead of going after the bigger clients. “Any sale is a sale” while technically correct, could be eating into your profits by not selling high profit items or discounting to get the sale.

Think bigger – around 20% of your customers would buy a higher priced item from you if you

a) had one

b) offered it to them.

Make sure you cultivate the top 20% of customers who love you and will buy your big ticket items.

3. Invest in assets

If you’re going to reinvest money back into your business DON’T “pimp your ride” buying pretty things or high tech things UNLESS they have the ability to make you more money.

Invest in people who can bring in more sales, technology to make it easier to collect money, systems that create more flow so things run faster and smoother and programs that identify the money you are leaving on the table so you can scoop it up.

4. Sell your ideas

If you sell tangible products or time for money services you could be missing out on leveraged money or even “money while you sleep”.

You probably know lots of things other people don’t know. It’s likely they would be happy for you to teach it to them either 1 to 1, in a group or an online automated program. Have you considered information products? E-books, e-classes, video programs, membership programs are easier than ever before to set up and run at minimal cost.

Use blogs, social media, email marketing and strategic partners to market and sell your ideas

5. Set money goals

Decide on the ACTUAL amount of money you want then get to work with a piece of paper or a spreadsheet to work out how you will achieve it. OR use the Income Generator Calculator tool.

For example your money goal might be an extra $100,000 in the next 90 Days.

Break the goal down into manageable chunks – if you sell a service, how many days will you be working in the next 90 days to sell and deliver that service. Let’s call it 44 working days to allow other days for running your business and days off.

Do the numbers
100000/44 = $2272.73 per day is your target.

The next question is HOW? How can you make that much money each day for 44 days?

Get creative – work out how many sales you’d need to generate to achieve the target then get to work structuring, marketing and selling to reach your goal.