Today, with the recession in full swing and the talk of a double dip, there is little to celebrate if you’re a main street business. There are some hopeful signs that even a main street business can still have some success during these trying times. As with other posts here on my blog, you see that I have interest in the internet and online business. I have spent about 5 years studying the online business model and have come to the conclusion, if I can come to one, that everyday is a new day and what worked yesterday will not necessarily work tomorrow. As a matter of fact it likely won’t work. The internet is a living, flowing electronic being that changes almost every second of the day. SO does that mean that old guys like me, that are firmly trenched in the “old business” model can’t learn a new thing or two. No it does not!
If you want to maintain a successful main street, brick and mortar business, you will have to incorporate the internet and also some mobile marketing into your business. You heard it here and I’m not BS’ing you the least. I’ll say it again, maybe a little louder so you don’t miss it, IF YOU WANT TO BE SUCCESSFUL, YOU WILL NEED TO BE ONLINE AND ON MOBILE!! Period!
I am very strongly opinionated on this as you can see. Sure you have a business that only sells to people who walk in your store.. Do you think that you could use more customers? Do you think it would be nice to turn over a little more inventory? Do you think it would be good if you sold off some of the dead stock in the back, that you have already written off? Well you can, and you can do it quickly, if your willing to do a little online work, or hire someone like me to do it for you, and move that old product off, and introduce new customers to your store. Simple really. Make more money.
Now here is the next issue. Let’s talk about who your customer is. You have heard of the 80/20 rule, if you haven’t, then you need to listen closely. 80 percent of your bottom line comes from 20 percent of your customers. Yes it does. The rule almost always applies, to almost every business. So do you know who your 20 percent are? Why are they buying from you? Why are they coming to your business? Again do you know who they are? You should, because they are the ones that are keeping you in business. Really they should all be your best friends and you should be treating them like gold, but if I was to come in and watch your business for a day or two, I can tell you that it is not likely that they are getting the royal treatment, and mostly because you don’t know who they are.
I have a task for you today. I want you to take a look at where and how much your spending on your marketing. I mean all marketing, that includes all your advertising, including the old yellow page ad, any radio, billboard, signage, sponsorship to your kids teams, free stuff to the charity that came in last month, website, all of it. This may take you a few days to think of where you have spent and on what, but total it up for the year and see how much it really comes to. How much of it is spent on the 80 percent of your customers that only give you 20 percent of your bottom line.. Be honest with yourself, if I was sitting there at your desk as your Manager, this is the accountability that I would be looking at you to provide me, so do it for yourself.
Business takes work, not just stocking the shelves and ringing in the sale kind of work, real work, understanding your customer, who they are, why they are there, kind of work. Thinking work! Sometimes this kind of work can be tough, it takes real discipline to look at your business this way. Many companies hire Management Consultants, like myself to do this kind of analytics on their business, and believe it or not after spending thousands of dollars, ignore the outcome and do nothing about what we recommend. That happens all the time, and it’s sad, very sad. Consultants have no problem taking your money and giving you a big fancy report, I personally don’t do it that way, I’m a real Management Consultant, I make you do the work and changes while on the go, so it gets done. Some business people have a real hard time getting out of their own way, is that you? are your afraid of loosing control? Are you afraid that you will lose your creative grasp on your business? Well I’m here to tell you, that in spite of yourself, you may or may not make it in the business world because of those fears. Or at the very least not be worse off then if you would be doing the same work for a company and getting a better salary then your making with your own business.
I ask tough questions don’t I? Here is what I want you to take away from this post today. You will have to take a large portion of your marketing spending and put it towards online and mobile marketing to be successful in today’s business world. That marketing dollar will be earmarked and spent on the 20 percent of your customers that bring in 80 percent of your businesses bottom line. If you don’t do it, your competition will, because I’m telling him the same thing I’m telling you. Stay tuned for some solid meat and potatoes on how your going to do that, to keep your business alive in these tough times, we all want to be stronger, so we can really enjoy the next boom.