In these trying economic times, drumming up more business can be hard if your clients have shrinking budgets. Small business owners are finding that their clients, whether individual consumers or other businesses, are tightening their belts and reluctant to spend.
However, some small businesses are finding that they can capitalize on the current crisis by connecting with current clients in new ways, and by hooking up with new clients. Here are three trends to think about when it comes to dealing with your clients' shrinking budgets.
1. Existing Clients are Open to New Ideas
In a world where everyone is looking for ways to cut financial corners, clients are open to learning about how to be more financially frugal, and from many new sources. One small marketing business sent its clients a short flyer listing "10 Tips for Frugal Marketing," which not only offered great information but also alerted clients to some new inexpensive services the firm was offering. By wrapping the information about the new services into a list of useful tips their clients could immediately use, the marketing business generated an immediate positive image and some new business from existing clients.
2. Partner Up to Access New Clients
One spa owner decided to see if pooling marketing budgets with other local businesses could generate increased revenue for her own business. She teamed up with some local small businesses to offer a series of "Feel Good" workshops. The workshops offered consumers many ways to "Feel Good"-physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, and even legally. Partner businesses included a law firm, an accounting business, a fitness gym, a nutritional consultant, a spiritual counselor, a banker, and even a private investigator. All the businesses cross-promoted the workshop series to their own clients, and attendees received coupons for free consultations and discounts. Overall, the businesses reported an average increase in business from the workshops ranging from 10% to almost 30%. Not a bad gain in today's stingy market.
3. Go for the Big Fish
Even big firms that used to have large recurring marketing budgets are starting to scrutinize the individual line items on which they spend money. According to marketing firm TheEyeWorks, 60% of businesses have or will decrease the size of their marketing budgets this year. More importantly, over half the companies polled are willing to consider working with a smaller marketing agency if the agency could produce similar results.
The moral of this David and Goliath story is that this financial crisis may have evened the playing field for small businesses. The fact that large businesses are looking for ways to deal with shrinking budgets gives small businesses a shot at large accounts that might otherwise be out of reach.
When faced with the incredible shrinking budgets of your current and potential clients, don't despair. Instead, think of yourself as the small business version of David, in the David and Goliath story. Then start talking to your current and potential clients in new ways. You may surprise yourself!
By Stephanie Valentine
Image by Agnieszka Pastuszak - Maksim
Stephanie Valentine has been a small business owner for over 15 years. Her blog, http://www.gosmallbizblog.com, offers helpful tips on taxes, productivity, revenue generation, and more for small business owners. She also writes about online MLM marketing at http://www.gomlmonline.com/blog