Over the last few years, business owners and managers have worked extremely hard to keep their businesses trading. Now that the economy is slowly beginning to improve, business leaders are turning their attention to improving profitability in their firms. Here are a few ideas to consider if you want to focus on improving the profitability of your business:

Ask for New Business

Avoid being too pushy but always ask your customers for a referral. It is often considered impolite, but all you have to do is say “Thanks for your business, we always appreciate a referral so perhaps you could recommend us to a friend.” Or to a new contact, “We would love to do business with you. Business is great and we always have time to look after a new client. Can we have your business?” Prepare your responses to the most common objections so you are well armed before you speak with your prospective customers.

Use Your Existing Customer Base

It is often said that it is 7 times more expensive to win a new client than it is to sell to an existing client. If you are not following up with past customers on a regular basis, you are not making the most of a valuable source of new business. Develop strategies to keep your customers with you, such as loyalty schemes, regular communications and special offers. Implement a regular process for following up with your customers after they buy from you.

Marketing Consistently

Once you have committed to owning and running a business, you must be equally committed to marketing and selling the products and services of that business. It is difficult, if not impossible, to stay and remain profitable without a commitment to ongoing concerted marketing. Marketing is not a luxury. If nobody knows who you are and what you sell, the phone will never ring. To get more out of your marketing, create a simple marketing plan that includes marketing activity every day, every week and every month.

INSPIRE YOUR TEAM

As a business owner or manager, you want to get the best out of your people. Communication is the key to truly inspiring your team. Inspirational communicators tend to have an inherent appeal that motivates people. So how can you be a bit more inspirational when you are communicating with your team?

Connect With Your Team

Take the time to understand the issues faced by your team and demonstrate that you, as their manager, can help them make the right decisions to overcome those challenges. Get involved with more day-to-day tasks in your business and try not to stay locked away in an office.  It is important that you interact with your team and build relationships with them, as when you communicate with them they will know that you have a good knowledge and understanding of day-to-day life in the business rather than just “management issues”.

Don’t Hide Behind Technology

If you really want to inspire your team, don’t just send them an email. Equally, don’t stand up at the top of the room and use a PowerPoint. Instead, create an opportunity to speak with them in a relaxed environment. Maybe go out for lunch or even go for a drink after work on a Friday.

Suggest Ways to Help Your Team to Succeed

If you want to inspire your team, share your own experiences.  Tell them about challenges you faced and how you overcame them.  This also gives you, as a manager, the opportunity to bond with your team, to show them a more human side.  Take the time to compare your story to the challenges faced by your team.  Explain how the solutions you used to overcome challenges can be used by your team.

Focus on a Vision

When you are communicating with your staff, share not only the company’s vision but also your own vision for the company. Let them know what management is trying to achieve, where the company is going and how the management team is trying to get there.