Most small businesses makes this one key mistake: it focuses on existing business to the detriment of acquiring new business. In our previous post we explained how you can avoid quiet times in your business or at least reduce the severity of slow periods by making it a habit to develop a customer pipeline replete with new business.
Making time to regularly do this in amongst the busy-ness of responding to immediate issues, like client requests and admin, simply needs to be done.
I realise this all sounds great in theory, but is easier said than done. So a more practical way to do this in day-to-day business would be to create a diary structure that builds in times of the week where you work on getting new business in the door. It needn’t be arduous; in fact it’s better if it is not so you’re more likely to stick to it.
Make it a habit
It’s important to get away from the mindset of ‘I’ll do it when I have time’. You tend to ‘have time’ in a slow period and if you’re in a slow period it’s too late! Marketing takes time to work and you also need to measure its effectiveness. The wrong time to tweak and experiment is when you need sales right away.
When should you do it, then? Make time for marketing and measurement on a regular basis. Every routine requires a bit of effort in its initial stages. One elementary, but highly effective, way of doing this is to diarise the first hour of every workday as ‘Business Building Time’. Commit this hour solely to sales and marketing efforts, whether that’s brainstorming new ways to get customers or working on existing sales-generating systems.
Not only does this take hardly any time, it’s at the beginning of the day so you’re more likely to get it done than if it were at the end. And because it’s in the morning, you can bring a fresh mind to it. Once you’ve formed this new habit, you’ll soon find yourself already thinking about it during your morning shower or on your commute in.
I’m not exaggerating when I say this one change to your day can transform your business. After several months of using this system you will have dramatically improved your business’ prospects, whether that’s stabilising its revenue or growing its customer base.
If you do nothing at all and pay no heed to the need for new customers, then your business is likely to go on as it always has. Maybe this is slow and occasional growth where nothing disastrous happens, but not much exciting happens either. Or perhaps your business will enter a slow decline, almost unnoticeable at first but then sliding towards being unsustainable.
How do you avoid the single biggest mistake almost every small business makes? Develop a regular habit to build your customer pipeline to encourage steady growth and constant sales. Commit to it today and you’ll soon see results.