For many years I have enjoyed deep sea fishing and have sometimes spent hours motoring from one spot to another trying to find fish. I have often found you can be just a few metres off a mark and catch nothing. Along comes another boat and props right next to you and they immediately start pulling in a great haul.
For anyone that did Sunday school as a child you will recall that parable where the fishermen were out in their boat trying to catch fish without any luck. Try as they may, they didn’t get anything. Then along came Jesus and from the shore he was able to see the big picture and called out to the fishermen to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. Suddenly they began to haul in a great catch.
Sometimes it’s easy for someone standing back a little to see what really needs to be done.
Business can often be like that. You have all the right ingredients but might just have your net on the wrong side of the boat. Often it’s small changes that can have the greatest impact and, sometimes, they can be really hard to see on your own.
Avoid your competition coming along and fishing in your patch by looking for those small changes that you can make to ensure you are capitalising on all your hard work.
Here are a few quick changes that could make a massive difference to your catch:
- Targeting a different market. Sometimes you can take the same product to a slightly different market and get much better results.
- Changing your prices (both up and down). A small price change can make a big difference and often putting your prices up can actually generate more business.
- Working through a distribution channel. Sometimes you can find another business that can see real value in taking your product to their market. This can have massive results if managed well. I built a distribution channel once that generated one thousand percent more sales than my existing sales channel.
- Engaging your clients so they want to purchase more from you and more often. For example, building a loyalty program or building a database and staying in touch more. Then add more value to your clients each time they transact with you by providing high perceived value, low cost, add ons such as a free training manual or access to a members only web site.
- Be surprising. Go the extra mile and give your clients more than they expect. It can be as simple as a follow up call after a sale to see how things are going or a thank you letter with a small gift. If you’re in it for the long haul this will create massive client retention and referrals. I always say, if you meet expectations all you have is a sale but if you exceed expectations … you have a referral.
- Partnering with another business, that has a large client base in your target market, will enable you to gift their clients with your products. This is a great way to get your product directly into the hands of your target market. You might want to offer a reciprocal arrangement, which is a wonderful way to provide your clients with extra value by gifting them with your partner’s products. There are many ways to structure these arrangements and they can really help to grow your business very quickly.
Just like in the parable, if you’re already doing all the hard work (your boat is in the water and your net is out) and you’re not getting the results you deserve, try finding someone that can call out from the shore and prompt you to cast your net on the other side.