Business often comes in spurts, but those slow spells can seem to drag on far too long. Find out how you can quickly reverse a slump in business… and avoid them in the future!
Every business experiences cycles of heavy sales volume and light sales volume. Periods of light sales volume are called business “Slumps”.
Some business slumps are predictable. Every landscaping service expects a slump in landscaping jobs during winter months. Their usual strategy to maintain a flow of business in the winter is to promote a different service such as snow removal. For most businesses, however, slumps occur without warning and for no apparent reason.
Some slumps occur when you’re spending the most time, money and effort on promoting business. When that happens, it’s easy to panic and start replacing proven methods of promoting business with speculative ideas. This reaction is especially hazardous for a small business struggling to grow. I know a business owner who almost lost her business when she panicked and reacted to a slump in business by suddenly changing all of her proven advertising messages.
I’ve experienced many business slumps over the years. Eventually I developed a simple procedure I can implement quickly to replace the business lost during a slump. You can copy this same procedure to reverse your business slumps when they occur.
The first thing to do when a slump occurs is to accept it as part of a normal business pattern. It isn’t signaling the end of your business. Don’t panic. But don’t be complacent either. Give the problem your immediate attention. Begin by taking the following steps.
TRY TO IDENTIFY A CAUSE FOR THE SLUMP
Determine if you can identify something specific likely to be causing the slump. For example:
A recent change in your advertising or promotional activity.
A direct competitor recently rolled out a huge new advertising campaign.
A major news event had a negative impact on your industry… such as the announcement of a government investigation of business practices in your industry.
You can develop a strategy to reverse the effects of a slump when you can identify a specific cause for it. Usually you won’t be able to identify a specific cause. That’s because there is none. Most slumps are temporary and will eventually reverse themselves. However, don’t ignore the problem and wait for it to go away. It may take a long time and you can lose a lot of business while you’re waiting.
WHEN THERE IS NO OBVIOUS CAUSE FOR THE SLUMP
When a slump doesn’t have an obvious cause, it’s what I call a “normal” business slump. I’ve found the best way to overcome a normal business slump is to take immediate action to develop additional business fast. The additional business supplements the current light flow of business and eliminates the impact of the slump.
Here are 4 actions I take immediately when I realize I’m in a slump. You can implement these same 4 actions in your business to reverse the effects of a business slump.
Develop a special offer for existing customers/clients. Use a short deadline so they must take immediate action or forfeit the special offer. Advise them of the special offer using a fast but inexpensive method of communication such as email, faxes, postcards or even phone calls.
Advise your recent prospects who did not take buying action of the same special offer. Use the same fast, inexpensive methods of communication listed above.
Call your best customers and ask for their help. Explain that business is slow and you want to use the time to approach some potential new customers/clients. Ask them for referrals.
Temporarily increase advertising in media where it is seen immediately (or almost immediately). For example, website and ezine ads, newspaper ads, First Class direct mail or postcards, radio spots, etc.
Business slumps can be beneficial. Sometimes a temporary action you take to reverse a slump is so effective you decide to continue it after recovering from the slump. The result is a permanent increase in your volume of business.