Grow Your Sales

Why you should broaden your offering immediately.

There is little doubt that the business climate right now is almost unrecognisable from the one we lived in only six months ago. It would be easy to feel despondent, but instead I invite you to look up, get excited about change, and adapt your business to meet the new market.

Here are my TOP TRENDS for SMB right now.

 

Trend #1 – Cocooning

I absolutely love this term. Its referring to our desire to make our home space ‘cocoon like”. A safe space we can escape the world, perhaps work from as well. If we are put into lockdown, we can enjoy the home we have created.

Therefore gardeners, furniture companies, cooking utensil companies are BUSY! People are spending their cash on cocooning at home.

How can you embrace this and meet the market with items that are affordable but allow your customers to cocoon?

 

Trend #2 – COVID is the new norm

For anyone expecting this to go away next month, forget it. This will be years of re-emerging waves people.

It will keep our overseas borders closed for potentially years. I mean who wants the waves in other countries to come back into ours when we have contained it for the fifth time?

It will mean we need to wear masks, get used to lock downs and border closures.

It’s the new norm.

When you have adjusted to that, you can plan to incorporate this into your business plan. Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

Strategise around ways to get your products made locally, not overseas. Forget about bricks and mortal sales, focus on ecommerce and edistribution. Find experts to help you set this up properly.

 

Trend #3 – Luxury is OUT, Affordable is IN

Headlines this week include luxury brands like Chanel stopping all production of their expensive luxury items. Why?

Because people are not going to be spending their hard earned big bucks on luxury items like they did pre-covid.

Instead they will be focusing on paying down debt, saving dollars, surviving.

Affordable, necessary items are the new focus.

How can you sell them things they NEED in their home, but give them an alternative to conventional supermarket brands.

People like to buy local, but they don’t like to pay more. So give them affordable items so that they can support your business instead of the big corporations.

If you have a brand selling luxury items, pivot by adding a new range of products which compliments what you already do, by selling something affordable that your clients already need. Give them your brand as an option. Sell them with your story. Tell them why they should support you.

 

Trend #4 – Onshore, not Offshore

If you watch the headlines like I do, you will have been astonished to find that our Australian government is currently working on breaking ties with China. I find this astonishing because China is our biggest trade partner, in both directions.

The fall out of this failing relationship is that it won’t be as cheap or easy to buy from China moving forward. If you think that you can keep buying your products out of China, I would suggest that you find a new strategy.

So instead of manufacturing offshore, think onshore. Try and find producers or manufacturers here in Australia that can make products that your clients will buy.

This ties in with the trend to Buy Local. Consumers want to support local businesses, but they don’t want to pay a lot more to do it. So focus on affordable locally made items.

And if you have onshore products made in Australia, make sure you highlight this everywhere in your marketing!!! Tell people you are doing the right thing and producing items here and they will love you for it.

 

Trend #5 – Lean Business

We are currently in an economic recession, and this may head into a depression (this is worse than a recession). We are largely buffered from feeling this because of the Government Stimuli, and because this recession landed when we were feeling pretty prosperous as a country.

Mark my words though, next year and beyond consumers are going to feel the pinch and slow their spending right back.

We will see major retailers continue to collapse, as well as many smaller ones.

Some may call this end to consumerism a great thing!

Certainly it will change the world as we know it.

So how do you prepare for tougher times? You lean up. You pay down your debts, you run your business on a shoestring. If you are bricks and mortar retail, or have an office, consider working from home and changing your business model.

The lower your overheads, the easier it is to get over your break even point each month.

Being lean also helps you to be nimble and pivot in different directions easily. And this next decade will call upon your skills in pivoting like they never have before!

 

Trend #6 – Ecoethical

I love this term!

As some of you may know, I built a pretty big business making eco friendly baby nappies. So making sure a business has eco credentials is true to my heart.

But what I believe will start to become more important to people is Ecoethical.

Is your product manufactured locally using an environmentally friendly process?

Do you employ socially responsible practises inside your business?

How can you look at both ethical and eco?

One of my favourite examples of this is my local beekeeper who turned her hand to making beauty products with her honey. I buy from her for myself as well as any present or gift I need. Her products are local, ethical, helping another business woman out, AND as a bonus the more money I spend with her, the more bee hives she can afford to keep. I am passionate about the future of bees so her business is about as Ecoethical as I can get! Check her out @mieledoro

 

Trend #7 – Broaden, don’t niche

Only a year or two ago, everywhere you looked you saw flashing signs telling you to niche your business down!

Well I’m now telling you the opposite!

Niching is great when the economy is strong and there are enough sales.

But when things get tougher, you can help yourself more by offering a broader number of products to the same clients.

Consider carefully what else your clients might need right now. Great examples of this are alcohol distilleries now making hand sanitizers. Material manufacturers now make masks. The inspiring story of the company Stagekings, who were a huge staging and event production business and overnight their next 2 years of business evaporated (live events being cancelled). They wallowed for a few weeks then pivoted and started to use their team and warehouse to manufacture flat pack office furniture and now they are crazy busy!

What else can you sell to your customers? How can you find new customers?

I hope these trends give you some food for thought!! Comment if you are already trialling any of these and how you are finding business.

Lisa xx

Cashflow Crisis

Three ways to avoid negative business cashflow.

At night, I can’t sleep. In the morning, I don’t want to wake up.

Urrghh can anyone else relate?

I literally used to have panic attacks in the middle of the night about cashflow in our business, which meant cashflow for our family too.

It is one of the most debilitating things you can experience.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

So I’ve written out my thoughts on my TOP THREE TIPS for how to work on your cashflow crisis concerns.

 

TIP ONE – Go Lean or Go Home

Reduce expenditure everywhere you can. Ask your accountant or bookkeeper or business coach for ways you can reduce your monthly expenses even further. Chances are that you can’t see areas that could be reduced. But a different set of eyes could.

I make it a habit to do this every 3 months in any business I run. It’s just smart business to operate lean.

To do this, I go to my accounting software and print out the last 3 months of cashflow summary. This is basically where all my dollars exited the business, not in detail, but in summary. I.e. $4382 to Google Adwords, $491 in Bank fees etc.

You want to see the totals.

Then go through this report in detail, and try and work out which bits you could reduce. Sometimes you don’t realise how high certain expenses end up, and it helps you cut them back. It’s one of the first things I do when I work one to one with a new client, we go through this report together and I ALWAYS find them thousands (or in certain cases tens of thousands of dollars) they can save!

Be ruthless, or get someone you trust to help you be ruthless! Cut back baby!

 

TIP TWO – Increase your Revenues

Look for ways you can smartly increase your revenues.

With the current economic climate being so volatile, you need to broaden your product offerings right now. Offer more to the same clients. Find new clients. Find new geographic areas. Find new things to sell them. Increase your offering and turnover.

Sometimes an extra few grand a month in revenue can make a HUGE difference to your bottom line.

If you can’t see ways to do this, ask your clients what they want to buy from you. Stalk your competitors (especially in the USA who are more forward in ecommerce than we are in Australia). Get a good coach or strategist who can see things you can’t see to help you.

 

TIP THREE – Get eyes on your numbers.

Do you know where every single dollar of your money is going in and out?

If you use Xero accounting software properly, you should have clear eyes on numbers. You should look at your reports regularly. I am a BIG fan of Xero, firstly because it’s the only accounting software designed for Business Owners (the rest were designed for accountants and book keepers) and secondly because it’s part of a larger ecosystem of software platforms that all talk to each other to automate your business easily and cheaply.

If you don’t have access to your numbers, then you need to update your accounting system, or your bookkeeper.

You should have a number of reports on your desk every week. Every single week, without fail.

This includes your daily sales, by channel, every single day. I can help you with ways to automate this. It might come from your online sales platform, or perhaps other software or team members. But your eyes must be on your sales (and comparing targets vs actuals EVERY SINGLE DAY).

This definitely also includes profit and loss statements from Xero so you understand your breakeven point in your business, and do everything you can to ensure you get past breakeven every single month.

Lisa xx

The Juggle Struggle

Doing the juggle all day? Feeling exhausted? Here are my TOP THREE TIPS to avoid the juggle struggle!

Hands up if you feel like every day is a juggle. Between kids, pets, husbands, work commitments, staff or stock or whatever is your particular flavour.

Yawn! Are you tired even thinking about it?!

Juggle juggle juggle all day long.

Then you get home and you have to juggle the household! Homework, the dog throws up, what’s for dinner mum. All you want to do is sit in the corner and cry.

I have a LOT of tips to help you through the juggle struggle.

Here’s my TOP THREE TIPS to help you through this:

 

TIP ONE – Block your hours

This means you cluster your tasks and block out a routine during work time. Monday mornings should be planning and team meetings. Tuesday and Thursday afternoons between 1 and 3 should be financials, pay bills, do pays etc. Fridays are marketing creative days.

Or whatever order you want. But find some structure and cluster your tasks otherwise you will keep switching between different tasks and overwhelm yourself.

Everytime you switch between tasks and back again, you use up some of your precious energy. By blocking these tasks and sticking to it, you will feel relief and need to use less energy.

This can even include cooking 5 dinners on a Sunday night so you can spend your weekday evenings hanging with your kids instead of thinking – crap what’s for dinner!!

Get organised, create a routine, and stick to it!!

 

TIP TWO – Book some you time

Find one night a week and ask hubby if you can take it off from him and the kids, and stick to the same night every single week. On that night (I used to call it DFNO – Designated Family Night Off) I would go to the movies on my own. Catch up with girlfriends. Read a book in a cafe.

But stick to it every single week, and claim it as your own girlfriend. You deserve the time off.

And start it from 4pm so you really don’t have to leave frazzled at 6 and find it hard to unwind. Claim your time!

 

TIP THREE – Outsource baby!

Let me guess – you do a little bit of everything in your business, but feel like you don’t do many of them well…! That’s because you are not supposed to! Whoever told you to wear ALL the hats in your business? Did you guess that yourself??!

Well you shouldn’t wear all the hats! It’s way too exhausting!

Instead, you should get really crystal clear on the tasks you LOVE to do, and are good at, and outsource the rest. Other coaches call it finding your “genius zone”. The things you excel at, and are naturally talented at. You’ll know them because they are the FIRST things you do every morning.

It’s the things you leave till last that are the ones we need to flick to someone else. You leave them to last because you HATE doing them! Outsource them baby!

But you say to me – no one else can do it like I do – or I don’t trust other people.

Well I say – stop being a control freak. Do you want to go to an early grave?! The only reason you will ignore my advice here is if you have a good old dose of control freakiness. So I would say – oh ok, you do it all mama, no worries. But if you get close to a nervous breakdown, maybe come back and listen to my advice then…!!

For those of you open to this – here’s my advice.

Write a list of the things you LOVE to do in your business. Then for 2 full business days, on a separate piece of paper, write down every task that you do inside your business, and the ones you should have done but didn’t. We want a list of all the things that need doing in your business.

Once you have your list, go through and highlight the things you love to do, and then with the rest of the list, start to cluster them into topics. Ie – graphic design work. Bookkeeping work. Basic admin chores work. Etc Etc.

Then start to find people who can do these parts of your business BETTER than you. For example, you need to do social posts every day, and interact with your followers, and it takes hours and you hate it. It’s a chore. So find someone like the girls both Nik and I use in our businesses to do the posts, images and interactions FOR YOU. Outsource it baby.

But I don’t have the budget you say – I simply can’t afford it.

What is the opportunity cost in your business growth you are missing out on, by spending hours every day doing things you hate. How far off the ball are your eyes? You are likely missing new products you could launch, new marketing ideas you could implement, new sales channels you should have considered.

How much are you SLOWING down your business by doing your own socials, instead of FOCUSSING on the things that you will GROW your business instead?

So go on, outsource it baby!

Lisa xx

What do you do to give back?

One of my mentors once said to me – a business that only focus’s on profit, will never be truly successful. But businesses that have a purpose greater than profit, well they are the truly successful businesses.

It got me to thinking – how many businesses consider social or moral responsibility as part of the purpose of their business. What good is your business doing to this planet? Or to peoples lives? Or does your business support a trend towards the greater good?

Or perhaps your business is actively involved in charity.

I consider these points to be really important in business, and something that we should all be considering.

This week I called a big company in Sydney who make a product that I need 300 of. And they left a lasting impression on me. You see, I’ve been gathering charity items for a drought stricken town for the last 18 months. And I’m deep at the moment in organising their annual Christmas party for 800 of the towns community. And for this Christmas party, I wanted 300 of these items, donated. Total retail cost $600.

So I contacted this company (that shall remain nameless), who are a large Australian company with offices all over the world and a whole raft of product offerings. I presented the charitable work I am doing, and I told them how 300 of their product would change the evening for a bunch of kids there, who had been doing it really tough in this drought. A night to be kids, instead of farm hands, grown up too early with this damned drought.

The lovely receptionist at this company phoned me back to tell me that her bosses had said no to donating anything. Can you imagine this big company couldn’t even donate what might cost them $100 at the most to manufacture? Where was their heart??!!

This lovely receptionist was so apologetic. I could tell she felt terrible, and was embarrassed at their ambivalence. Then she said, I’ve watched some of the videos of this work you are doing, and it bought me to tears. I feel so sorry for these farmers. I would like to personally buy these 300 units from this company I work for, and send them to you for free. Would that be ok. Honestly, I was rendered speechless. It reminded me that there are some wonderful people in this world!

What are the chances this company will keep this wonderful lady working for them? Probably low in my opinion.

If your business has heart, and compassion, you will be more attractive to the right staff. You will be considered well in your community or industry. You will form relationships with other business and industry people, including media.

If you stay greedy, surely your luck will one day run out. I’d like to think so anyway.

Lisa x

How can you create a movement?

Start a movement – if you want to see change in this world – you need to be the change you want to see. Thats how I started a movement last year from my home town of Bangalow to “adopt” a town called Bingara, and send them over $80,000 of feed last year, and this year we have a whole host of initiatives to support this town.

Here I am a guest on Sky News discussing this movement, as one of their “change makers”. I love the idea of being a change maker, it seems to fit in with some of my last few companies too. Create the worlds most eco friendly baby nappies? Check. Connect small business and future technology to make sure they adapt and thrive? Check.

What is your movement and how are you leaving the world a better place?

Lisa x