The most effective people in business are the ones who keep learning and adapting. In fact, the greatest lesson in business is to never stop learning. And, at Anthill, this is exactly what makes us tick.
One of the surest ways to improve cashflow is to improve profitability. And that often means, sell more products and services, for a greater margin, at a lesser fixed cost.
And that’s the thinking behind this latest instalment in our seven part cashflow series. (Click here to register for the full series.)
1. Keep learning and growing
The world of business is alive. It’s transitioned from hand-made to assembly line; it’s transformed from transistors to integrated circuits; it’s even traded square footage for the cloud. And along the way, those businesses that transcended each successive era have shown willingness to keep up with the times.
This is accomplished through continual education. And we don’t mean going back to university every few years to keep up with new ideas in the world of business. We mean paying attention to blogs, authority sites, thought leaders, and the latest trending topics relevant to what you do. Make friends (in reality and on social media) with other business professionals and open up a dialogue. Immerse yourself.
2. Increase your prices, ever so slightly
Price increases are a fact of life in all business sectors. Accept it.
As a business owner, you might not easily recognise when it’s time. Just don’t let the awkward truth dawn when your operating costs have increased to the point that you are no longer making the kind of margin you need to operate a profitable business.
While the need to increase prices will then be obvious to you, it’s not always as obvious to your customers and clients – and they are likely to be unhappy about any price hike at all.
So, when the time to raise your prices does come, you’ll want to break it to your customers gently. The best policy: honesty (of course). The worst kind of price increase is the silent, unspoken one that emerges on a random invoice.
At the very least, email your customers to let them know, in a nutshell, why you’re raising prices, before you do it.
At the same time, you may want to test alternative price points with new customers, using a split-testing tool, like Unbounce.com. (This will quickly make it clear if you are under charging.)
3. Extend your product offering (even if you are in services)
Most small businesses, particularly service providers, operate as a ‘one trick pony’. They offer one product or service and, when interest in that wanes, they hit struggle street.
However, almost every business owner is a font of knowledge… they possess information and advice that customers and clients will pay for. Staff also represent a rich source of commercialisable intellectual property.
What intellectual property exists in your business that can be productised?
4. Upsell through automation to prompt repeat sales
What’s the most valuable type of customer? The one you have!
If you have more than one product offering, or if you can forge friendly commercial relationships with businesses in complementary industries, why not introduce opportunities to ‘upsell’ additional products and services to your clients?
If you sell carpets, do a deal with a carpet cleaner. If you’re an accountant, form an alliance with a financial planner. If you offer health and wellbeing services, find out what products your customers desire.
Then, explore email marketing options to introduce these complementary products and services at a scheduled and logical point in the future. Most importantly, make sure that your automation tool reaches out to your customers and clients (or gives you a nudge) when it’s time for them to buy from you again.
5. Observe and record your successes
Have you ever seen the movie Jack Reacher? In the movie, Reacher (Tom Cruise) says at one point that a person who trains for years will eventually be able to at least look like they know that are doing (or something to that effect). Well, that might be true for crazed ex-government sniper types like the ones in the movie, but in sales, the more you do it, the better you’ll actually be at doing it.
The best thing you can do in business is examine your successes more than you look at your failures. Though you can learn from your mistakes, you can also imitate past wins. The thing that made you one sale will make you two; the thing that made you a $1,000 can make you $100,000.
It’s as simple as that!
Next… Give yourself room to breath
This article is sponsored by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited ABN 11 005 357 522 (ANZ). The views and recommendations that are made in this document are those of the author and not ANZ. To the extent permitted by law, ANZ disclaims liability or responsibility to any person for any direct or indirect loss or damage that may result from any act or omission by any person in relation to this material.