2021 has brought with it a lot of uncertainty for both individual people and for businesses. And with all that’s going on in the world, it’s no wonder. But, for every challenge, there’s a ‘best approach’ to overcome it. So, take heart, and let’s look together at a few of these challenges, along with real solutions to overcome them.
1) Fewer Customers
This year has brought economic consequences along with the medical and social challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. People and businesses alike have less money to spend. That means fewer of them will be coming to your door to spend it.
The answer, here, is to focus your marketing efforts on key groups of customers. Rank them by key characteristics which make them likely to buy from you. Are they long-term repeat customers? Do they typically spend more than other customers when the do buy? Focus your marketing efforts on these to close more sales.
2) Reduced Repeat Business
Once again, we have to recognize here that many potential customers have less money available than they did in the past. This means that those who were regular buyers in the past may reduce their rate of consumption for your products or services – or they may disappear altogether.
One answer to this challenge is to offer a subscription service – if your business model allows it. If the potential customer can better manage their spending by pre-paying a set amount to receive guaranteed products and services, then they’re more likely to buy those products and services.
3) The Unexpected is Lurking
Just like in 2020, this year has brought with it a great deal of unexpected circumstances – with more unpredictability coming in the immediate future. When change is the only constant, it can be hard to fit effectively within your market without falling behind.
The key here is agility. You’ve got to trim the fat, cut expenses and streamline your processes. The less weight you carry, the easier it’s going to be to respond to unexpected market changes.
4) Reduced Results from Marketing
Marketing will always be a key activity for your business. But in these trying times, you can expect to see reduced ROI on your marketing efforts – simply because the customers you serve have less to spend.
To counter this challenge, work on narrowing the focus of your marketing. It’s ok to get a small number of responses – if the responses you get are big buyers. So, find a way to focus your efforts on those who are likely to spend the most and come back most frequently.
5) Market Changes
Your market is most certainly in constant flux, this year. With lots of competitors out of the game, and still more trying to step in to fill their place, you can bet that the ‘new normal’ is as much about business operations as it is about health and safety.
In such a changeable environment, you should diversify your product and service portfolio to catch more potential customers. If your product can be expanded to a wider audience, you increase your chances of making a sale.
6) Labor Expenses and Time
While making more sales is an important part of increasing profits, another is reducing costs. And in times like these, you’ve got to cut as much as you can. You’ll find, if you look carefully, that there are usually lots of tasks that need doing for your business which burn a lot of your time. You don’t really have money to hire staff, due to the uncertain nature of business, but you don’t have time to handle it all yourself. How do you compensate for this?
You have to automate & outsource the tasks that you can’t do yourself. As much as possible, lean on software packages and online services which can handle important, repetitive tasks quite well. For the rest, it’s seriously time to think about bringing on an offshore virtual assistant – an actual person who works from abroad at a fraction of local rates – to support your business. Click here to learn more about virtual assistants. These two approaches will save you money, without reducing your productivity and output.
7) Smaller Purchases
This year, you’re likely to find that customers who previously would have spent freely at your business will stick with you, but will spend less. That’s normal in any time of crisis. That’s a reduced revenue flow, which is a challenge, for sure.
At times like these, it’s important to first acknowledge that these customers are your bread and butter. They’re going to be the fuel for your business to recover when things start to turn around for the better. It may be tempting to lower prices to get more sales out of them. But remember this, a reduction in price now will require you to raise prices later. And that’s a bad thing when doing business with repeat customers. Instead, offer them more value for their money, as a special bonus. If your business is a food service, for example, give them larger servings to show you appreciate them. For other business types, look for creative ways to offer more for the same price. The end result is the same to your bottom line, but your customer won’t get used to a lower, unsustainable price.
At the end of the day, nobody can deny that times are tough for businesses, and that there are plenty of challenges to go around. But using creative approaches to problem solving can help you do more than just survive – it can help you thrive!