Running a successful business takes consistent planning, marketing, sales and ongoing management. I’ve spoken to a few small business owners (new in business) who told me they were just too busy right now to work on their marketing or business growth: “the phone just keeps ringing!” is a familiar phrase I hear. Great news, right? The phone is ringing off the hook, why continue marketing and planning? Well, for these guys who have told me this, they work in a seasonal business. In another month or two, they will wonder if the cell towers or phone lines are frozen when their phone stops ringing.
Below are two, hopefully obvious things, to do now to keep your business moving forward.
Two Things To Do Now
1. If you have not started the process yet, begin creating your 2013 budgets and plans now. Don’t wait til you have the time. It might be too late. You also don’t have to do it all in one sitting. Just cut out an hour this week and another couple next week and get it done. Need extra help? Hire a mentor or business friend(s) to help strategize with you for a few hours as well. After the budget is in place, create a marketing calendar of events of when and who will get the task at hand completed.
2. Book work now. If you are busy at the moment, start securing work for December, January and even February if you run a service business. I’ve seen salespeople do this a couple ways. Some of them will call up their existing client base and ask if they would like any work completed during the month of January and if so, they’d discount the service. One customer took this approached for his painting business and booked $80,000 of residential work just from calling up existing customers. Others would go out and estimate a job and put the current price tag of the job: $5,400 if booked now. $4,300 if booked between Jan 2 and January 31st. Giving the prospect options works very well!
However you decide to book work, get it going now. Maybe you create a calendar with the dates available. When you go out to do a bid, show the calendar to a prospect and tell them the weeks that they can save money. You also don’t need to always discount. Just use your good instincts. If you think you can get a customer/prospect to wait for a slow season, go for it.
The bottom line is this, running a business is hard work. You cannot take a break. You’ve got to have all cylinders running year round. So get things into gear and keep moving your business forward into the new year.
I’m curious, how do you guys currently prepare for winter work? Let me know in the comments below.
Side Note: If you need help with putting together a business plan, my friends at Summit Services are offering a special during the month of October. It is worth every penny. These guys are great. Check out their business planning offer here.