Sunday, December 20, 2009

How Do I Stop My Business From Failing

Why is my business failing? Thousands of businessmen and women have asked the same question at one time or another, especially during the early days of their businesses. To be sure, the marketplace is a high-tech jungle where only the fittest survives.

The bottom line reason your business is failing is that you are not selling enough of your product (goods or services) to cover your operating expenses and make a profit. But the problem is not with the product, it is with the elements that make the product what it is. What are those elements?

  • Do you have the right product for your target customers? Obviously if you don't they will not buy it, at least not in the quantity that will make you a profit. Choose a product that already has a demand, but emphasize a unique benefit of the product that your competitors are not. It should be a product that is consumable, so that your customers will come back to buy more.
  • Is your product quality and durability comparable to your competitors? The quality of your product is the primary element to which all the other elements are anchored. If you do everything right but have a bad product you will not have repeat customers. Majority of your customers will be one-time customers, and the bad news about your business will spread like a virus.
  • Is your product easy to use or consume? Customers are irritated when they spend their hard-earn money on an item, but cannot get it to work. Next time when they go out shopping they will choose an item that they won't need the brain of a biochemist to get it to work. Choose products that are customer friendly.
  • Is the price of your product competitive? If a customer can buy your product at half the price from your competitor two block down the street, why would he buy your product? Look around and do some comparison shopping to check on your competitors prices and adjust your price accordingly.
  • What is the platform from which you sell your product? Do you sell your product on the Internet or in a brick and mortar store? If you sell on the Internet, is your website or blog pleasant to the eyes, easy to read and navigate? Being mindful that if a visitor to your website is not able to solve a problem he encounters on your website in 3 seconds you've lost him.
  • If you sell in a brick and mortar store, does the layout of the store give customers easy access to your product? Are the price tags conveniently displayed to avoid having the customer to ask for the price of each item? Are your salespeople informed about the product enough to answer customers questions? Your aim is to give your customers a pleasant experience in the store to make them want to come back again.
  • Once you set up your website with quality content and products, nobody will know that you exist until you advertise it. How much it will cost to do so will depend on the type of ad, and the competition in your line of business. You may choose to submit your website to the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN or Bing, and wait for months to have your website pages indexed, or buy 'pay per click' (PPC) ads that will send visitors to your website within 24 hours of signing up.
  • You will need to know about keywords and their placement on your website. When a visitor goes to the Internet for information, s/he types in a word or phrase. The search engine checks through its indexed web pages for websites and blogs with keywords or key-phrases that match the visitor's query, and present them in order of relevance. Search engines are scrupulous in their selection, because if they provide the wrong information they will lose the visitor, and that is bad business.
  • Advertising a brick and mortar store normally involves running ads in the local newspapers or on TV. Since this can be expensive, you may want to set up a website or blog and encourage your customers to go there for discount prices and information about your product.
  • When you attract customers to your website or store, and they buy your products, the next step is turn them into repeat customers. Ask for their names and email or postal addresses. Because this information is valuable to your customers, offer something for it. Give them a discount or a coupon in exchange for their personal information.
You can stop your business from failing by selling more of your product to satisfied customers who will buy from you again and again because you sell the right product, high quality product, easy to use and at competitive price; because they know where to find you from the weekly information you provide them by email, letters, on your website or blog about new products, discounts and coupons. Shall we get to work now?

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