It’s December and the holidays are upon us. For many small businesses the holidays become an excuse for not pursuing more business or putting things in place to ensure sustainability going into the new year. Some of the things I’ve heard are “I’m just so busy preparing to travel (insert other excuses). It’s hard to work on my business. No one is buying my services because they don’t have money during the holidays.” On top of that, many small businesses are fearful about investing money during the holidays because they anticipate (or attract) low revenue. And I say “attract” because I truly believe that we attract what we think.
Here are some things to consider as a small business during the holidays …
- Because potential customers are not being targeted as much during the holidays it’s actually one of the best times to target them. They’re not being inundated by offers and productivity is low, meaning that they’re more available and receptive to hearing how you can help them with your product or service.
- Business owners should invest in their businesses during the holidays to ensure the best customer service and repeat business. It’s too easy for customers to find new vendors, services and products when you don’t meet their expectations. Your chances of losing customers are higher than usual during this time if customer experience is poor.
Let’s talk about investing. My top recommendations for investment to expand a small business are 1) Staffing, 2) Marketing/Advertising and 3) Hiring A Business Coach/Consultant.
- Staffing – hire help in the areas that you do not excel in or in the areas that are not the best use of your time. If you’re cleaning the toilets or running errands, stop it and pay someone else to do it. Determine how much your time is worth, focus on revenue generating activities and delegate lower level duties. Figure out how much more money you can generate with the help of an additional employee. Chances are that the revenue will more than cover the cost of new hires. My first hire was a cleaning company for my home so I could spend more time working. Major return on investment! Hiring help got so easy after that first “hire”.
- Marketing/Advertising – business owners are quick to cut marketing and advertising expenses from their budgets when marketing and advertising is a vehicle to generate sales. They are often afraid to invest because there’s no guarantee of ROI and because they adopt a scarcity mindset. The bigger issue is that many business owners struggle with making marketing decisions because they may not be well informed on what vehicles make the most ROI sense for their businesses. Chances are they would invest in marketing and advertising if they knew what could result from the investment. Consulting with experts in this area would be a great investment to help them.
- Business Coaching/Consulting – the best investment I made in my business was hiring a business coach and it was the scariest decision. I had no idea if I would see the money come back to my business but I knew I needed help to grow my business. I was tired and overwhelmed and working in my business versus on my business. The investment was $10,000!!! The biggest investment I had ever made in one purchase for my business. Within four months I shockingly made the money back and then some. I was sold on the concept of having a coach but more importantly I was sold on investing. Having someone to show me how to create and execute a plan, while cheering me on and holding me accountable was a game changer. I can’t imagine NOT investing in my business and NOT having a coach. The investment has doubled my sales.
The areas of staffing, marketing and consulting are budget line items that are often dismissed because of the “We can’t afford it” and scarcity mindset instead of the “How much more could we make if we invested?” proposition. I didn’t have the money to invest in a coach, but I had a business credit card and that’s what jump started me.
As business coach myself I now coach my own clients and prospects through the fear of investing and coming up with creative ways to fund their needs. Money is the number one objection I encounter when offering my coaching and consulting services. At the end of the day everyone can find the money for the things that they need and want, if they perceive value in those things.
It’s surprising to encounter so many business owners who haven’t even considered getting a business loan or credit card. It doesn’t even occur to them that borrowing money is an option. When I encourage them to call their banks, apply for a business credit card or explore organizations such as Kabbage, it’s as if I just performed a miracle, especially when they discover how easy it is to get the funding they need. If you don’t ask for help, you will never get it. So, ask!
December is the best time of year to invest in your business and plan for the new business year. Start investing now to increase your sales later!
Gina Trimarco Cligrow owns and operates Gina & Company Coaching & Consulting, a business coaching and consulting firm, in addition to Carolina Improv Company, a business training and entertainment company with a 75-seat theater (Uptown Theater) located inside in Myrtle Beach, SC. For more information visit www.GinaAndCompany.com.