It is said that there are three types of business. Those that have had tough times, those that are having tough times, and those that are going to have tough times.There have been various terms to describe business in the Upper Market over the last few weeks and some of them are unprintable, but “diabolical” probably comes closest.
Before we start this little guide on how to react in tough times, let’s state something important up front - this not about you or your product. This is about poor consumer demand and we are all experiencing the same thing - reasonable crowds producing very little sales.
So how do we occupy ourselves (and keep our sanity) when we are feeling unwanted and unloved?
1. Keep busy- Inactivity is catching and we don’t want customers to get the impression that our offer is generally unappreciated. According to one business advisor, most businesses leave around 25% of their tasks incomplete. You could tidy up displays, dust, repair, and replace. You might use quiet times to update your price list, take photos of your products and put them on your website or Facebook page. The list goes on.
2. Treat your customers well- I know, this can be really hard. After all we are feeling un-loved. The good buyers are missing, and this lot seems to be wasting our time. But it is not their fault, and at some stage they will return as buyers. It is important that we leave the right impression.
3. Plan your next holiday - seriously, exchange this feeling of neglect for something far more positive. In fact, maybe plan a quick break straight away. There is nothing like a good break from work to refocus and adopt positive action.
4. Be careful who you listen to - there are plenty of unsupported views on why business is quiet. Often they involve blaming somebody else. There are a lot of things that can impact on business but essentially, and right now, it is just low consumer demand.
5. Strategise - you might be the type who works best under financial or emotional pressure, so get creative and start planning some new strategies - new products, new marketing, new merchandising. Even if the buyers return fairly quickly you stand a better chance of attracting a wider audience with some new offers.
6. Consult a mentor - we have a structured mentoring program for traders at QVM and it makes good sense to take advantage of it.
7. And perhaps the best strategy of all is to plan what you will do when the upturn comes - it will happen.