With colder weather coming and the potential for a second wave of COVID-19, small businesses should have shifted their focus by now from re-opening to surviving the winter. If not, I've got some advice to offer on how you can get started on creating a revenue stream to carry you through Stratford's traditionally slow winter season.
Today I'm running down part 1. Over the next few weeks, I'll deliver three more crucial steps to pivoting and finding new revenue. Let's dive in.
Listen to your customers.
Sometimes when we move through our busy days inside our businesses, we forget to stop and listen to our customers. Yes, of course you're not spending time with them and just ignoring what they have to say, but are you truly listening to their comments or feedback or common questions. Feedback that may be telling you something that you might be afraid of hearing? Or dismiss because you've never even entertained that possibility?
If you have the chance, sit and think about products your customers ask for frequently and consider bringing that product in. Or a dish they'd love to see, or a way to prepare a current dish. Or can you monetize any little bit of what they're asking for?
Customers are often telling you what direction to head in. Listening can cut to the chase and help you pivot quicker.
Pay close attention to how they want to be served in the coming colder months. Or do they wish you had an app? Did they join your newsletter list just to be ghosted by you? You didn't listen to them when they asked to be emailed. Or maybe you don't even have a list, for which I'd say to you, why not? Have you not made list building a priority and were relying solely on social media? You don't own what's happening on socials, but you do own your list.
Have staff? Have a regular session with them to see what they've been hearing. Maybe it's the day of the week you're closed, or the hours you're open. Maybe they keep hearing that a customer tried to buy an item online but was frustrated with the shipping fees. Perhaps you could deliver locally for free or research a better way to ship things.
Maybe you don't have delivery and you hear that you need to get ahead of the curve on that front. A walk-up window? A door that swings in instead of out or a button to get in, so your customers don't have to touch the handle?
Here's your homework. Let yourself listen to your customers and staff. Then brainstorm all the of the wild and wonderful ways you can plan to explore new revenue generating projects for your business.
Don't forget to reach out to our advisors who are here to help you take those ideas and mold them into a solid strategy for growth.
Come back next week for part 2!