by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Author's program note. To get you in just the proper state of bliss for this article, search any search engine for that peppy Gay 'Nineties style toe tapper, "In the good old summertime." Released in1949 George Evans -- music; Ren Shields -- lyrics. I like Nat King Cole's snazzy rendition.
Admit it, with Summer of 2011 at hand, you're happy... especially if you've been suffering through a particularly bad and prolonged winter and punk spring as we in New England have. Yeah, catching a few rays at the beach looks real good about now... as does some Jimmy Buffett margaritas while doing absolutely nothing except swing in the hammock. Sign me up!
There is, of course, one fly in the ointment; there always is. And that fly is the little matter of your business... and the usual expenses that never seem to take a vacation. The question before this (beach) house is this: what can you do to make cool profits when the temperature's hot. Dude, you've come to the right place for some sure-fire ways to sell your cake and eat it, too.
1) Recognize you've got a problem.
Most businesses (except seasonal ones) experience sales slow-downs and slumps after Memorial Day up to about a week or so after Labor Day; that is for non-USA readers from the last week-end of May until the first couple weeks of September. Your customers are planning on doing some of the same Buffett-style cavorting that you've got in mind... and if that diminishes your profits and gives you some cash problems, so what! They want to parteeee, just like you!
2) Check your sales stats for the previous summer.
Get the hard numbers. How bad was last year's summer doldrums? That'll give you a helpful benchmark for what you need this summer... and the dimensions of the seasonable slow-down you need to make up, for the sake of your peace of mind, to say nothing else.
3) Get your stats together ASAP.
You're already behind the eight ball for these data; Memorial Day, after all, has come and gone and that is the unofficial start of summer. If you haven't got your profit rescue plan together by now, you've got some midnight oil to burn to catch up. Remember, if you're like most businesses (even the best established and successful), the advent of Memorial Day signifies the advent of those (gently we trust) slack profits that make us all nervous, especially in these economically soft times, the result of our last great recession.
4) Check the great (buy now) sales offers you made for last summer and the summer before.
You've got detailed information on the sales they made for you, don't you? Well? The first rule of business life is never, ever re-invent the wheel. Check out your offers; what worked for bringing in the bucks? It may well make sense to re-use what you've already successfully done. Unless circumstances have dramatically changed, revise ads that have worked for you, bringing them up to date.
5) Offers, offers, better offers.
The key to your summer sales and keeping profits high is making good, limited time offers. This doesn't mean just good offers; it means the best offers you can make. That's where the money is.
You may think the customer is getting a deal that's "too good". Get rid of that pesky thought at once. I'm not going to hand you some sanctimonious line about the crucial importance of keeping customers happy and getting them to buy over and over again. You already know that.
No, the reason for making extraordinary, never-seen-before offers, is -- you. You need the money and the peace of mind that accompanies it. So spectacular offers throughout the summer are mandatory. From right now!
6) Make more offers.
Yah, I told you this already. Why then am I repeating myself? Because the offer is absolutely crucial, and you must treat it as such.
Towards this end, make sure you keep all the special offers you make this summer; make sure each is accompanied by the exact sales stats. That's your clue about whether you should offer them again towards the end of summer; or for your consideration next year.
7) Offer "best customer" deals... and be aggressive about promoting them.
Chances are if your business is in pretty good shape, you've become (sad to say) a tad lazy about marketing. You may even have "take-it-for-granted -- itis", and that costs you, especially during the summer when, whatever the temperature in your neck of the woods, you've got to hustle! "Best customer" deals are tailor-made for this situation.
Take the time, now (remember unofficial summer has already begun), to brainstorm extra good offers for your best customers. The more the merrier. Remember, you need cash and you need it yesterday. Your best customers already support you liberally; they can support you even more liberally. That is, if you make the really motivating offers that get them to take notice -- and spend!
8) Call your best customers... and make time every day to talk live to and give these people your dazzling customer service (and, of course)... offers.
These days lots of businesses, use the phone for nothing more than taking incoming calls and calling the cleaner to see if they've got fresh clothes for tomorrow. In other words, old style personal treatment via the phone is about as dead as thank-you notes. But not chez vouz. It's time to prove that you never forget how to ride a bike, er, make sales on the phone. Note: in case I forgot to mention... every phone conversation should, at the very least, be followed by some dazzling offers made via email. But you already know that.
9) Get a jump on your (probably) busier fall sales season. With the best will in the world and lots of action, you may still come up a few bucks short of your usual quarterly profits Be prepared!
If you can't keep your profits up during the summer months to their accustomed levels, don't despond. Prepare now; improve fall sales. This means, you guessed it, even more offers. You need to be one busy locomotive, dreaming up great offers, seeing what your competitors are doing, keeping the necessary stats, and also preparing to re-use what works.
10) Use any doldrums to perfect your sales machine.
When I go out and about, I am an inveterate scrutinizer of ad copy and whatever the establishment in question is doing for marketing. You must do the same, always anxious and eager to upgrade your crucial marketing machine. Become a marketing snoop; remember, even the tiniest and most lackluster business is doing something right. Your job is to find out what that is... then see whether your business could benefit from such techniques. You'll get a ton of great ideas this way... and the money that follows your implementation.
Follow these sensible recommendations and your summer of 2011 will reach or even exceed some of those good old summertimes you have known... especially if you've got that tootie wootsie on your arm, for that is indeed a very good thing!
About the Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Dr. Lant is also the author of 18 best-selling business books. Republished with author's permission by Nicole King http://homebusinessreviews5000.com/