Businesses such as cosmetics, liquor, funeral homes and tax accounting will always be around and booming. But, if your business doesn’t lie in these areas, and if the state of the economy has affected your sales, how do you drive them back up?
Here are ways that small businesses can continue making money despite the blow dealt to the economy.
1. Location, location, location
For a physical premise, location is very important. If your butchery is located where five or six more are a stone’s throw away, you’ll close down that business pretty fast. Move to a location where you’ll be top of mind to your customers.
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Your clients don’t want to walk miles to get to you either, so ensure that you are strategically placed for them to have easy access to your goods and services.
If you can get a vacant shop at a shopping mall, all the better. This is one place that attracts window shoppers every day - and they’ll likely buy from you even if they hadn’t planned to.
2. Sales and discounts
No Kenyan can pass up a good deal. By offering sales, you’re killing two birds with one stone: getting people in the door and getting rid of merchandise that isn’t selling well. Sales and discounts will also draw new customers to your business.
There are those who come in for the products with the slashed prices but end up buying other things as well. If you promote your sales well, these new clients might grow into repeat customers.
3. The digital era
Everyone is on the digital platform nowadays. If you haven’t taken your business online, you are missing out on a lot of sales. Most of your clients these days window-shop online before settling on what to purchase.
The digital platform bridges the gap between your clients and potential business partners and advertisers. Also, other than your physical premise, this is an additional outlet for sales. Set up Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp accounts as you work towards opening your own website.
4. Look out for trends
Kenyans are known to start and follow trends. Look out for these so that you can strike while the iron’s hot. For example, if your retail business is selling T-shirts, Kenyans usually come up with quirky, printable slogans. You can make a killing here.
But be fast least you’re left with thousands of T-shirts that no one wants to buy after the trend has faded. Over time, you’ll learn how to spot trends and be able to gauge which ones stick around for longer than others.
5. Be different
Unless you are a franchise, you have to find ways to stand out. Come up with themes that are unique to your business, or introduce shopper cards that can be used for discounts with repeat customers.
Ensure that you sell niche products that will force shoppers to come to your store when in need.
6. Employ the best
Your goods and services may be similar to your competitors’, but your employees make your store more appealing. Get people who will treasure your business as much as you do. They’ll be kind and respectful to your clients and you’ll always have repeat customers.
Word of mouth travels fast and these customers will talk to their friends and family about their experiences. Treat your employees right and in turn they’ll treat your customers like gems. No one wants to talk to surly and grumpy people, so maintain a pleasant work environment and your clients will enjoy the best customer service.
7. Be keen on inventory
The economy might be bad, but that doesn’t mean that you stop taking inventory. Not every employee will have your best interests at heart, and not every person who walks into your store is a customer. There are those who will steal from you.
Your business might be losing money this way, so be wary. Keep close track of inventory to identify theft. If you can, place a camera in the area of your shop that is most prone to shoplifting. Or rearrange your shop to enable you to have a clear view of that area. If you’ve suffered loss from theft and shoplifting, slightly boost your prices to keep you in the black.