Home Archives July 2008 Boosting sales in a down economy

Boosting sales in a down economy

| Print |  Email
Tuesday, July 01, 2008

CashDrawer

FOR SMALL BUSINESSES without large cash reserves, economic downturns can be especially tough. To stay afloat, you need to keep the cash register ringing even when customers are cutting back — and that means thinking outside the box.

One of the biggest mistakes small business owners make is cutting down on marketing when they start to get strapped, says Harry DeWolf, district director for the Small Business Administration in Portland.

“You’ve just got to get more creative,” he says. “Visit potential clients instead of
sending them stuff. Call them or email them. Work those lists, and make the message more personal.”

Another strategy is to form alliances with other businesses to stretch marketing dollars, says Shelah Johnson, CEO of Techchex, a Portland-based tech  firm that serves small and mid-sized businesses. Identify noncompetitive businesses that share your target
consumer and create co-op ads to benefit both players. Refer business to other firms and request they return the favor.

You can turn customers into marketing allies, too. Viral marketing, such as email blasts that can be forwarded to others, are an easy way to expand your base without any extra effort or expense, Johnson says.

One tactic to avoid, though, is discounting. “It decreases the perceived value of your product or service,” Johnson says. Instead, offer value-added incentives, such as one month of free service when a customer pays for a full year.

To compete with big-box competitors that do slash prices, step up the service. Look at what the competition doesn’t have or do and fill in the gaps, DeWolf says.

Spending money might seem counterintuitive at a time like this, but one investment that could really pay off is a website. “If you don’t have one, it’s like being invisible to the world,” Johnson says.

Above all, both experts agree that the key to driving sales in a down economy is to be proactive and stay positive.

“In many ways, small business is more agile than enterprise business,” Johnson says. “We know how to be resourceful. Small businesses have cockroach in our DNA: We will survive anything.”

JAMIE HARTFORD


To comment, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

More Articles

Is this employee right?

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
081314 thumb employeefeelingsBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

When I say, “Your Employee is Always Right,” I do not mean “right about the facts,” but rather “right about how they feel” and “right about how they want to be led.”


Read more...

Podcast: Testing for Emotional Intelligence with John Hersey

Contributed Blogs
Friday, September 19, 2014
ivbU3sIXBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you tell if you, a peer, a subordinate or a job candidate has the emotional intelligence needed to do well?


Read more...

Video: The 100 Best Survey

News
Thursday, August 28, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1OB Research Editor Kim Moore shares some pointers about the 100 Best Companies to Work For survey.


Read more...

Fast Food Slows Down

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

The ubiquitous fast-food restaurant may be on the decline.


Read more...

Molecular Movies

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Dr. Chong Fang isn’t God. But the assistant professor of chemistry at Oregon State University is getting closer to figuring out how he put everything together. 


Read more...

The Alchemist

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

David Howitt explains why Portland consumer brands like Stumptown and Voodoo Doughnuts are taking the world by storm.


Read more...

Buyer's Remorse

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Parents and students paying for college today are like homeowners who bought a house just before the housing bubble burst.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS