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What To Do During Inflation, Recession & Consumer Cutbacks

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Both small and large furniture business owners must pay close attention to their modus operandi, especially in these times of inflation, recession and consumer cutbacks. All indications point to this grim economy being a short window of our lifetime. The key to coming out on top is paying close attention to your customers and making them priority one. The first thing managers must do in a slow economy is get their priorities straight: Do they choose to keep growing the business or just make sure they survive the downtime? Many wise decisions are not based on net profits alone, but on the future of the business. Even in times of slow spending, everyone still needs products and services. Sometimes the first thing business owners cut back on is marketing, However many successful managers know how to focus on creative marketing strategies and get creative to get the biggest bang for their buck. 3 Most important rules in any business Bring them in the door. Whether you have a brick and mortar or a Web site, you have to bring customers in the door to generate revenue. The key here is to be innovative; never try to blend in, you want to stand up and be noticed. It’s the edgy innovative things that make people point and start talking about you and your business. If it’s a website that you’re trying to promote, offer every friend you have something in order to use their e-mail database to send out a couple of e-mail blasts inviting people to check out your site. If it’s a street address, with drive-by customers, you should focus on the curb appeal, signage, landscape, front of building and entrance. Don’t try to look like the guy next door, try a brighter sign with giant letters that are easily legible at 45 mph. If you have no customers, have your employees park their cars up front. If you’re selling a product that can be displayed on the front sidewalk, carry it in and out all day and keep trying new things to look busy. Make sure they leave happy, and can’t wait to return and bring friends. Your goal should be to turn satisfied customers into loyal customers. You can be happy with satisfied customers, but don’t be surprised if they also spend their hard-earned dollars with your competitors, especially when price is involved. Loyal customers, on the other hand, are far more focused on quality and service when deciding where to buy. Loyal customers will literally jumpstart your grassroots campaign by becoming mavens for your business and telling everyone they know of the pleasurable experience of doing business with your company. Essentially loyal customers become a major part of your marketing and sales team and the best part about it is you don’t have to pay them, you just have to create them. Number three is the most important rule in any business. Know what business you’re in. It doesn’t matter what business you’re in-- auto, apparel, banking, restaurant, real estate, and the whole gamut of the business world-- you better know what business you’re in. You may be surprised, but it’s rarely what you think it is. If you are in the furniture business, and someone asks you what business you’re in, you’re automatic response would be, “I’m in furniture.” The real answer to that question from a savvy retailer would be, “I’m in marketing” If you answer you’re in the furniture business, there’s a good chance you have a lot of salespeople sitting around doing nothing, and a better chance you won’t be in any business long. But if you’re in the marketing business, there’s probably people knocking down your door. Everyone in business should be in the business of marketing. Once you know the three most important rules of any business the next step is to implement them. It’s one thing to know what you need to do, it’s another to actually do it, and that alone can put you ahead of the competition. First, it’s important you know the difference between marketing and paid advertising. A quick and simple definition of marketing is anything and everything, nothing too small and nothing too big, that you do to bring customers in the door. These are everyday, common things that you’re probably already doing, but now you’re going to look at these daily tasks in a whole new light. In today’s fast-paced world it’s an ongoing education that every business owner should be enrolled in. New tricks of the trade pop up every day; the difference between a marketer and those who choose to do the same thing every day is the marketer is a risk taker who believes in being innovation and testing new strategies, at the risk of making a mistake. Mistakes are considered necessary steps to success, and truly successful entrepreneurs learn from their mistakes. If you’re not learning something every day, you’re simply not paying attention. A good marketing strategy encompasses a wide variety of daily exercises. Some are paid for, some simply involve the investment of time and some forms of marketing cost nothing. A good example is grassroots marketing. These community driven, word-of-mouth testimonials have proven since the beginning of time to be the most valuable form of publicity and marketing. They have great capacity to jumpstart a worthwhile product, topic or cause. A good mention of your business from satisfied customers goes a long way toward sending you new customers. When you take a step further and convert your satisfied customers into loyal customers, it’s a guaranteed home run for your business. About the Author: Denny Durbin is an entrepreneur and author of “Lazy Enchiladas, Redefining Success,” which explains firsthand the values of taking risks, assessing success and adding creativity to a career. Readers are rewarded with a new definition of success that incorporates entrepreneurial values. Denny has created, built and owned more than a dozen diversified and lucrative business. He has more than 30 years of networking experience. www.lazyenchiladas.com

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