If your business model has become stale, unprofitable or uninspiring, it’s time to take a new approach. Here are seven ways to revitalize.
1. Get a new outlook. See your business as your customer sees it.
It never ceases to amaze me when I am ignored or treated like I am intruding when I walk into, or call, many businesses. It’s important to make your customers feel welcome.
Take it a step further by giving them help and information without overtly pushing for a sale. This leaves your customer with a positive impression. Many times, even if there is no immediate transaction, that customer will return or recommend you to someone else.
Books like the E-Myth by Michael Gerber, or Think and Grow Rich—A Black Choice by Dennis Kimbro and Napoleon Hill, can help you to think about doing business in a different way.
2. Create more efficiency in your business.
• Check your process from first contact to invoice. Is it working? Here’s the best place to begin creating change.
• Where is your money going?
• Can you save on the supplies you order?
• How about the services you use? Is there something you can eliminate, automate or update?
• Think about going green by becoming paperless and other earth-friendly pursuits. Not only will you be helping the earth, you will be viewed as modern and progressive and attract those customers seeking green companies.
3. Get out into the real world.
Attend networking events. The camaraderie with like-minded people can breed renewed enthusiasm and ideas, much like the ones you probably had when you began.
Visit your competition. Not only will this give you a reality check on what you may be doing right or wrong, but surprisingly, it can also be a great way to make allies instead of enemies.
Do in-person surveys. Instead of collecting dry statistics and other data online, talk with real people on the street, in the mall or at an event. You never know what you might learn and you could possibly pick up a few new customers along the way. Phone surveys done by telemarketers won’t do that.
4. Contact other entrepreneurs and begin a weekly call-support session.
Using three-way calling or a free teleconference service, you may find peer-support the refresher you need. Keep these rules in mind to keep it orderly and productive:
• Create a set structure to the calls including what roles each participant will play like taking notes, hosting the call or keeping track of the time.
• Don’t gripe. Lay out issues clearly and concisely.
• Be ready to give and receive constructive feedback.
• Share practical solutions and ideas.
• End on a positive and uplifting note.
5. Restore your commitment.
Have you checked your mission statement lately? Do you have one? A mission statement will lend overall structure and drive to a business and infuses the owner and employees with a sense of purpose and pride. Help with writing a mission statement is available online and in most business self-help books.
6. Be a problem solver.
The most lucrative businesses solve a problem. Ask yourself, “What need can I fill?” Carl Hansberry, father of the famous African-American playwright Lorraine Hansberry, asked himself this very question.
During the Great Depression, while working as a real estate broker, he realized that a simple kitchen-prep area (most homes were renting rooms without kitchens or private baths) would be invaluable to potential renters. The result? Even though the odds were against him during a time when racial barriers and the economy were at their worst, his success was legendary.
7. Get involved in charitable pursuits.
• Sponsor an event or a race.
• Make your product or service available to people in need.
• Feed the hungry or help the homeless.
• Make a company effort to volunteer for a charity like Habitat for Humanity.
Implementing any or all of these ideas into your business this week could have you and your business facing a brighter future in no time.