Need more moolah? Try these simple tips to increase your turnover.
Every entrepreneur dreams of having a thriving business, but to achieve that needs a little extra effort. Consistently. Boosting your sales may seem a daunting task, but there are relatively simple ways to achieve this goal and attract more customers.
More sales equals a higher turnover, yes? But, this is business – a higher income is not solely down to selling, but is achievable if you work holistically; as well as increasing sales, it’s important to keep evolving with the needs of your customers and to keep shaping your products or services to best suit those needs.
The loyalty of a regular client should never be underestimated and you need to put as much effort into nurturing existing relationships as you do attracting shiny new ones.
The most effective way to do this is to truly know your current customers – are their needs being met? If not, how can you meet them? The key to selling more, more regularly, lies in a consistent and tailored approach to after-sales support.
Don’t give them your home address and invite them round for a roast dinner with your mum, obviously, but do make sure each and every one of them knows that your approach is innovative, and that you’re constantly learning new skills to bring highly differentiated solutions to the table to tackle their unique business challenges.
Top Tip: Keep on top of industry trends, then convert what you can into add-on products and services as a marker of dedication, which in turn leads to customer trust. A key growth trend for 2022 and beyond has been identified as watertight data security, privacy and accountability.
High profile data breaches such as the prolonged attack on Marriott International that saw the personal data of over 500 million customers stolen have thrust data security, privacy and accountability as the number one demand from today’s modern, digitally connected customer.
To attract new customers and to reassure existing customers that your improved packages are worth potential fee increases, therefore, you’ll need to reassure them that their information is secure from the get-go; here’s how:
- Invest in some GDPR-ready (General Data Protection Regulation) customer relationship management (CRM) technology.
- Switch your website to an HTTPS certificate.
- Delete any personal customer contact information that’s no longer needed.
- Run everything by a data protection office to make sure you comply with all up-to-date GDPR.
You need to tackle price too, and be comfortable that it’s not one-size-fits-all. A lot of service-based businesses take on a new client, discuss the appropriate package for them and then roll with that month after month charging a flat monthly fee according to the client’s needs. What that client thinks they need and what they actually need however, are often two very different things, so it’s vitally important that from the get-go you make it clear that their package will be assessed as the relationship progresses and can be amended – both in terms of reducing or increasing their fee – according to the amount of time and attention they need.
Don’t be afraid of asking for referrals. Stick an informal statement on the bottom of invoices, proposals and emails asking clients to tell their friends if you did a great job and to come directly to you if there’s any issues that need ironing out; some will and some won’t, but there’s no harm in planting the seed.
KNOW YOUR COSTS
Know your costs inside-out and analyse your financials. Swatting up on your profit and loss and understanding what you need to do to become more profitable is one thing, but actually following through with a solid cost management process that keeps a lid on your costs within specified budgets and limits expenditure so targets remain achievable is another thing entirely.
Consider your buying process: when a company spots the need for a purchase, be that stock, new laptops for the team or an entire suite of new software to make the switch from desktop to cloud computing, who is in charge of the process from awareness right through to research, review and eventual purchase?
Accountability and controlling costs go hand in hand, so it’s a good idea to specify roles within the overall process, and to firm up an annual budget to help keep your profitability on track by predicting not only where your money is coming from, but where it’s going too.
STAY IN TUNE WITH YOUR FINANCES
Insight into your business financials is worth its weight in gold, and making sure you’re continually monitoring the real-time activity within your business with regard to both revenue and expenses will help you become far more intuitive when it comes to making cost-saving, or cost-spending business decisions.
The best way to know your costs is either by looking at your Profit & Loss, or, to really get down to the nitty gritty, by going through the last six months of your business bank statements with a fine-toothed comb to see what you’re regularly spending money on. Good accounting software can help you do both.
Here are some common regular costs and what to look out for:
- Bank fees. Can these be negotiated, or can you find a better rate?
- Software subscriptions. If you’re not using what you’re subscribed to, it’s time to get rid.
- Rent and business rates. Are you in arrears? More’s the point, do you even know if you’re in arrears or not? Make sure all of your accounts are paid and up to date.
- Office supplies. Yes, we all want them, but no one really needs three snazzy highlighters and a packet of multi-coloured Post-its.
- Professional costs. Look at what you’re outsourcing – are you getting what you pay for?
- First, check that your monthly payment is correct. Second, shop around and see if you can find a better rate elsewhere.
- Are you positive you’re not still paying for any ex-employees’ contracts and have you searched for any better deals for your staff recently?
- When’s the last time you looked at energy prices? Regularly check comparison sites to make sure you’re getting the best rates. You’ll be surprised.
- Again, we all want the newest MacBook Pro every year, but we very likely don’t need it. What else can you cut out?)
- In the age of Uber, people zip around from meeting to meeting not really thinking about the fees that they’re clocking up, but any unnecessary taxi or parking costs really build up over time. Plan better: can you multitask and have multiple meetings or run multiple errands at once?
- Please, please, and we cannot stress this enough, please make sure you’re getting bang for your buck with consultants. If you’re not seeing a decent return on investment, reconsider your spend. Now.
- Double-check your statements to make sure the tax that you’re parting with is correct.
- Food and drink. As we’ve already mentioned, the average British person spends £303 a year on coffee alone. Add a very modest £5 lunch to this, five days a week for 46 weeks of year and you’ve spent £1,453. Gulp. Rein it in.
- Convenience buys. Do you pay £6.99 for a ream of printer paper from Amazon because you couldn’t be bothered to run to the shop and buy the same thing for £2.99? We rest our case.
If you know that you’re not on your A-game where costs are concerned, getting an accountant, even in the short term, will help you plan ahead and focus on being proactive, not just reactive, when it comes to managing costs.