Last Updated: Nov 5, 2012
Whether your idea of success is to be able to vacation whenever you like or to simply support your family, there are three basic things you can do to make sure your business is able to meet your goals.
You’re a small business owner and maybe you’re a one-person company and you’re single. Maybe you’re an independent consultant with a large family to support…like me. Maybe you have 20 employees and you’re looking to expand. At any rate and whatever your situation is, you likely have some vision of what it means to be successful. What it means to you to ‘live a rich life.’ What is it?
Is it to take vacations whenever you want not having to worry about the expense? Maybe it’s just knowing you can buy a book at the local bookstore that you’ve been wanting without needed to check your account balance first. Maybe it’s not caring so much about late customer payments because you continually have enough business and money in the bank to always cover your expenses no matter what. We all measure these things a bit differently depending on what we’ve always been used to, how we were raised, and what’s important to us now.
So let’s consider how we can look to reach that success and maximize our profitability:
Recession proof your business
This is a tough one. It’s easy to state, but hard to follow. There are three ways you can recession proof your business and they are all difficult. First, be the very best at what you do and your customers will likely stay with you even when the economy is bad or prices are high. Second, offer something people need but can’t find or that has little competition. But it must still be a need…or a guilty pleasure. Otherwise, you could be offering the only chocolate flavored broccoli around but if no one wants it, you still won’t be successful. And third, offer something that people will always buy. There are only a few of these categories in terms of products or services. Jimmy Vaccaro, the betting analyst (yes, I live in Las Vegas) once said it was gambling and pizza. No matter how poor people are, there will always be a market for betting and pizza. If you can find that niche (I don’t recommend the gambling niche though), then you’ll likely be fine… but good luck with that.
Be careful on pricing specials
I do periodically lower prices to obtain new clients… running specials to draw in those potential clients who have been on the fence for months or possible to reach a new market where my offering hasn’t been tried yet. But keep in mind, once you give client ‘x’ that low price, it will be nearly impossible to raise it back up again. To them, you’ll always be set at price ‘y’ now and if you raise your price on them, they’ll start looking for another business to provide your service or product to them. If you want to obtain success or stay successful, be very mindful of your pricing policies and the discounts that you are thinking about giving away. I’m not saying ‘never do it’ because it’s a great way to bring in new clients that you would not have otherwise obtained, but know how much you need to make to be profitable and stay true to that.
Provide excellent service
Finally, never let up on the customer service factor. It doesn’t matter if you’re the cheapest in your market or the most expensive. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best or maybe the only provider of your service or product in the area or entire market. Even if you think you’re customer needs you more than you need them, always, always, ALWAYS treat them like you need them very much and want their business above all else. Your customer needs to know that they are important to you and that you are serving them to the best of your ability. If you start to lose that perspective, the success that you are experiencing may be fleeting.
© 2012 Attard Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. May not be reprinted or reproduced without written permission from Attard Communications.
Brad Egeland is a Business Solution Designer and IT/PM consultant and author of A Real World Project Manager’s Guide to the Successful Project. He has over 25 years of software development, management, and project management experience leading initiatives in Manufacturing, Government Contracting, Creative Design, Gaming and Hospitality, Retail Operations, Aviation and Airline, Pharmaceutical, Start-ups, Healthcare, Higher Education, Non-profit, High-Tech, Engineering and general IT. Brad is married, a father of 11, and living in sunny Las Vegas, NV. Visit Brad’s site at www.bradegeland.com.