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

Gone Girl

News
Monday, September 29, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Wehby disappears, Kitzhaber fails to disclose and Seattle gets bike share before Portland.


Read more...

The clean fuels opportunity

News
Monday, November 10, 2014
111014-dirtyfuel-thumbBY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A market for low-carbon transportation fuels has a chance to flourish in Oregon if regulators adopt the second phase of the state’s Clean Fuels Program.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies survey is open

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!


Read more...

Reimagining education to solve Oregon's student debt and underemployment problems

News
Thursday, November 13, 2014
carsonstudentdept-thumbBY RYAN CARSON | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How do we skill up our future technology workforce in a smart way to take advantage of these high-paying jobs? The answer shouldn’t focus only on helping people get a bachelor’s degree.


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...

Revenge Forestry

November/December 2014
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
BY JONATHAN FROCHTZWAJG

A flare-up in the Elliott Forest raises questions about détente in Oregon’s timber wars.


Read more...

A Complex Portrait: Immigration, Jobs and the Economy

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE & KIM MOORE

Oregon Business reports on the visa squeeze, the skills gap and foreign-born residents who are revitalizing rural Oregon.


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