12 Ways to Strengthen Your Small Business by Marnie Pehrson
1. Consider Bartering with companies that normally wouldn't buy from you. Bartering overstocked inventory that you won't be able to move, is a great way to turn it into cash. Here's an example. Let's say you have 3 older model fax machines in stock that no one wants to buy. If you were a member of a barter exchange, you could barter these for travel accommodations, airline flights, food, a Web site for your company, printing, office supplies, etc. You can also barter other products you might sell like health & beauty products and services, consulting services, used cars, medical services, etc. To find a credible barter exchange in your area, visit the National Association of Trade Exchanges.
2. Offer gifts or incentives as birthday presents to your customers, incentives for referrals, or as incentives to get clients/prospects to fill out surveys and questionnaires.
3. Strengthen your niche - If you are a desktop publisher specializing in resumes, expand into brochure and business card creation. If you sell computers, start offering a free hour of training with the purchase of a new computer.
4. Volunteer to Speak - develop an informative short speech on your computer field and volunteer to speak at your local Chamber of Commerce, clubs, churches, women's groups, etc. Once you have your presentation skills down, you might even be able to start speaking at paying seminars.
5. Advertise through groups you belong to. Put an ad in your local church directory, school newsletter, neighborhood newsletter, etc. It makes people feel good to buy within their communities.
6. Get to know other businesses that service your prospects. If you own a local sporting goods store, get to know the management of sports & fitness centers, golf courses, bowling alleys, batting cages, etc. Work out referral programs and co-marketing programs with them.
7. Send a letter and 2-3 copies of your flier to all of your clients. Let them know how much you appreciate them and how you'd like to have more clients just like them. Ask them to pass on the extra fliers to 1-2 friends.
8. Remind existing clients of all your products/services. If you offer a variety of products and services your clients may only know you offer the one service they use. Send out a flyer and let them know everything you do. Existing customers are already sold on you, so make sure they know to come to you with their needs!
9. Brainstorm. What do you offer that the competition doesn't? A guarantee? Phone support? Zone in on what you do different and better and emphasize these in your literature. Maybe even print a list of your extraordinary benefits on the back of your business card.
10. Remove the Risk for the Prospect. Use money back guarantees. Be specific.
11. Team up with other venders of similar products and services to offer turnkey solutions.
12. Create Packages. Let's say you operate a beauty shop. You could give clients a free manicure with a hair cut and perm.