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

Powerlist: Law Firms

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with leading partners at law firms in Portland and eastern Oregon, followed by October's powerlist.


Read more...

Books Rule

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JON BELL

Powell's stays relevant in the digital age.


Read more...

The short list: 5 hot coffee shops for entrepreneurs

Contributed Blogs
Friday, November 14, 2014

CupojoeBY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Oregon entrepreneurs reveal their favorite caffeine hangouts.


Read more...

100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon [VIDEO]

News
Thursday, October 02, 2014

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 11.17.21 AMMore than 5,500 employees from 180 organizations throughout the state participated in the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon project.


Read more...

100 Best Nonprofits announced

News
Thursday, October 02, 2014

100NP14logo4WebOregon Business magazine has named the sixth annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon.


Read more...

Water World

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

Fred Ziari aims to feed the global population.


Read more...

OB Poll: Wineries and groceries

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

24-winethumbA majority of respondents agreed: Local vineyards should remain Oregon-owned and quality is the most important factor when determining where to eat or buy groceries.


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