Although some economists are cautiously optimistic about the future state of our economy, many businesses still struggle and many continue to close their doors. Luckily, business owners who think out of the box, go back to the drawing board and have confidence in themselves can survive and thrive in even the toughest times.
Take a look at how these soloists reinvented and refreshed the face of their marketing and business offerings to bring in new business. Share your ideas here and hopefully we can spark some ideas and reignite the passion for those whose energy is ebbing.
- Consuelo Bova launched the nation's only online short men's clothing company, ForTheFit.com, in 2005. In spite of the economic downturn Bova saw a 75% increase in sales in 2010. Here are the key actions that took ForTheFit to strong profits:
With operations scattered throughout her home, a borrowed office space and a separate storage facility, Consuelo's operation was inefficient and burdensome. After a few years of "boot-strapping" to keep costs down, she invested in an office/warehouse space and some new technology. 'This allowed me to tornado through my day and accomplish so much more, while remaining solo,' Bova says. 'The next step was to discount merchandise because people need to save.'
But with slim margins, Bova didn't have that option so she turned to a rewards program, offering money back on purchases. 'I was happy to make this compromise and it pleased the customers, showing appreciation for repeat business,' she says.
- With a niche market in the real estate industry, Kathy Goughenour's solo business took a huge hit when the recession began. Before the downturn in the real estate market, she was earning a healthy living as a virtual assistant for real estate agents. Within one month of the bubble bursting, earnings declined by a whopping 80% and continued to decline until she was earning a mere $500 a month. But Kathy did not let that stop her for long. Last year, she reinvented her primary niche to target authors. 'My business is once again so full that I am referring to my associates,' Kathy says. Apparently life is good again for Kathy!
- Adrian Miller has enjoyed a very successful career as a sales trainer, author and public speaker for 23 years. 'I definitely took a hit when the economy went bust,' says Miller. But she took action and now says that 'all is well!'
When the slowdown hit, Miller took action and boosted business by revving up her 'try us for free' offer. She also became more proactive in prospecting and began to network more strategically and effectively to bring in more business. Miller also launched a new business venture that is growing and profitable. She knew that the creation of Adrian's Network was a natural brand extension for her since she has been an active networker for more than 20 years.
These may seem like basic steps, but with the power of social networking, SEO and pay-per-click, many of us forget to go back to grassroots marketing. More business owners are finding the benefits of good old face-to-face networking again, just as Adrian has.
What are you doing to reinvent yourself and your business offerings? Share your ideas here on The Successful Soloist!
Marla Tabaka is a small-business advisor who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She has over 25 years of experience in corporate and start-up ventures and speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness.