Are you finding that even with the attention and care you’re giving your business, it’s not giving you much in return? Since transforming my own business from unprofitable to prosperous, I have coached many business owners through the process of starting, growing, and running companies. I have seen first-hand the effort and energy that goes into launching and managing and I also know the frustration business owners feel when their efforts fail to produce results.
There’s no one magic cure for a business to go from failing to thriving, but here are five tips for jumpstarting your business and realizing better profits:
1. Give Your Brand a Voice
When prospective clients see your advertising, make sure they can tell exactly what your business provides by using a clear, consistent logo and tagline. Make sure your logo is on all business communication (invoices, emails, advertisements, website etc.). If you haven’t already trademarked your business name, I recommend you make that a priority. A trademark lawyer can often push a trademark through that may otherwise get rejected due to common mistakes in the application process. A trademark will help protect the name and brand you’re working so hard to build.
2. Find and Attract Your Ideal Clients
Use your marketing time and money wisely by mindfully targeting the type of customer you want to attract. For example, if your ideal customer lives in a certain area, focus your marketing there. Early in my own business, I discovered that chasing after every potential customer wasn’t worth the effort; especially clients who were difficult to work with or who lived far from my service area often weren’t worth the small profit they provided. Letting go of difficult clients can also save you money you’re spending in self-care to manage the stress of dealing with their complaints! I once worked with a client who was in therapy because of a very difficult client who was causing her a lot of stress. I pointed out that if she let the difficult client go, she wouldn’t have to continue spending money on therapy and wasting energy trying to get the client to change. She agreed and found that letting the client go solved both problems at once.
3. Cast Your Marketing Net Wide
Don’t put all of your marketing eggs in one basket—get creative and tap into varied marketing sources. For example, in addition to online marketing, be sure to establish relationships with local business owners and community groups in order to build a referral network in your target area. When I was running a location-based business, I kept a mobile marketing kit in my car stocked with business cards, card holders and other necessary supplies so it was easy to promote my business in locations frequented by my ideal clients.
4. Be Strategic in Setting Rates
Increasing your prices by even a small amount each year can produce significant profit, especially if you have a large customer base. Business operating expenses go up every year; if your prices aren’t increasing, you will have to work harder every year to make the same amount of profit. The key is to price your services competitively without undervaluing them or pricing yourself out of the market. Create a spreadsheet of your competition’s prices and use that to inform your own rates. Aim to have prices in the top third for your area. For example, if similar companies charge $80-$100 for a particular service, you may want to price yours near the high middle ($88 – $92). When you reach a point where you’re inundated with clients, you’ll know you’re ready to raise your prices to the highest pricing tier.
5. Accurately Track What Works (and What Doesn’t)
Sloppy bookkeeping or not regularly analyzing your financial data may keep you from noticing which products or services are top sellers. Early in my own business, I was considering eliminating a certain service because it was causing me a lot more time and energy to manage than other services …until I realized that the service I wanted to drop was generating half of the overall business profit! Eliminating that service before analyzing how much profit it was generating would have substantially lowered my income and possibly put me out of business! In the end, I found a way to make changes in how I scheduled and managed staff instead of dropping the service—and the money it brought in. I recommend that you evaluate your profit and loss statements each month and especially before making any major changes.
Intentional marketing, branding and pricing, along with mindful attention to the aspects of your business that are generating the most income will attract more ideal clients, increase your profits and create the business and life you imagined for when you first started your business.