Over the past few years, not a few self-employed people saw their retirement funds disappear. While that is frightening enough, when you are self-employed it can be even doubly so. So what do can you do? One of the answers is to work both harder, and smarter.
The first thing to remember to do is to not only work in your business, but on your business. However it is that you get customers, do it, and then do more of it. And then keep doing it.
- If it's an advertising campaign, keep it going, and even consider expanding it.
- If it's cold calling, call more.
- If you network, join more networks – actual and virtual – and get out there even more.
Why? Because the sad truth is that some of the people who buy from you now are eventually going to stop buying from you. That is the nature of being in business for yourself. But there is an antidote, a smart antidote. In fact, five more of them. Here they are:
1. 80-20 your customers and products: The 80-20 rule is more important now than ever. Remember who your most important customers are, your vital 20% that create 80% of your income, and kiss their tushies. Offer more, for less, take care of them, given them great service.
And while you are at it, work at targeting customers similar to your best ones. Think about how you landed your best customers and recreate that effort, wooing other potentially great customers.
2. Consider lowering your prices: These days, everyone is looking for a bargain, so consider giving them one. Have a sale. Lower some prices. Give away some time.
3. Keep your overhead low: You do not necessarily have to cut expenses now, but you should at least create a plan for how and where you will cut back if necessary. If you have some employees that might need to be let go for example, put a plan in place (for yourself) as to how their work will get done, and by whom.
What about moving to cheaper digs? Whatever cost-cutting measures you employ, just be sure not to cut back in those areas that get you business, especially your advertising and marketing.
4. Institute some shoestring marketing: When times get tough, you have three options for keeping things afloat: You can cut back (see above), borrow, or make more.
Increasing your sales need not be overly expensive. There are all sorts of inexpensive shoestring marketing methods available. The important thing is that you try out some new, affordable marketing methods so as to keep the ‘ol cash spigot open.
5. Team up: Now is also a good time to consider forming some strategic partnerships with like-minded solopreneurs. You can share the cost of the endeavor, you can share the labor, and you can also share contacts and customers.