Buy Nothing Day – And Focus on Building your Business Instead
The day after Thanksgiving, also known as “Black Friday”, has been designated as “Buy Nothing Day”, a day of international protest against the consumerism that surrounds the holiday season. In recent years, the protests have grown as more retailers have chosen to open up on Thanksgiving evening, leaving very little time for store employees to enjoy the holiday with their families.
Many entrepreneurs and small businesses have started participating in Buy Nothing Day, closing their doors on Black Friday to show solidarity with those who believe our society may have lost a bit of perspective on what the true meaning of the holidays should be. But just because you are not doing official business on Black Friday does not mean you cannot use this day to your advantage.
With the New Year coming up, it is important to take some time out to plan your business strategy for next year. Here are five areas to focus on to ensure that your business remains sustainable next year and beyond:
Profit Margins: Your profit margin is the difference between your cost to deliver your product/service to market and what your customer or client is willing to pay for it. The key is to find that “sweet spot” in your market where your product or service is competitive relative to the other providers in your market and profitable enough to keep you solidly in business. If you do not believe you can justify a price increase, you may want to look at ways you can save money by providing your product or service more efficiently.
Branding: Building a strong brand is one of the best ways to justify a higher fee for your product or service. When the market sees you as a premiere provider, they will often be willing (and in many cases expect) to pay more. The key here is to carve out your unique selling proposition (USP); in other words, whatever makes you different (and better) than your competitors, and communicate this through as many channels (both online and offline) as possible.
Leadership: In many small businesses, you are the CEO. However, you may want to assess your strengths and weaknesses as the leader of your organization and see if there are any areas where it may make sense to bring in some help if you can afford it.
Ongoing Revenue: The way this is accomplished will vary by industry, but one of the keys to long-term success is developing a stream of repeat customers or clients. The reason is that the cost to acquire new customers is roughly six times the cost of retaining an existing customer. Look at ways you can ensure that your current customers continue to buy from you. The best way to achieve this of course is to make sure your product or service exceeds your customer’s expectations. Beyond that, it is also important to cultivate strong customer relationships by keeping in contact through mailings, texts, social media and other means and providing incentives to keep them coming back.
Exit Planning: Have you been thinking of retirement or going in a different direction in the near future? If so, it is important to map out your exit strategy. The goal of course is to make your business as attractive as possible to a potential buyer. Focusing on the aforementioned areas will go a long way toward accomplishing this goal. On top of that, speak with a business brokerage that has expertise in buying and selling companies like yours. A business broker will be able to help you successfully prepare for all the ‘ins and outs’ of your future sale and ensure that you receive top dollar for your business.