How Radar Can Improve Your Business

February 29, 2008

This is a guest post by Barbara Swafford of Blogging Without a Blog.

Image by The Art Guy

Most businesses are started with one great idea. We go for it, and put all of our eggs into one basket.

In reality, this can work…for awhile.

But, what happens when the economy takes a turn, your products/services lose their demand, or you get bored? Do you have another income source?

If not, financial ruin could result.

That’s where diversification comes in.

Being a story teller, I’ll share a small snippet of what we learned.

Years ago we started an excavation business. Knowing we could be shut down in the winter months due to snow, we incorporated snow removal into our plan. We later added mainline testing and wood recycling. Often, when one phase of the business was slow, other parts were not. Diversification kept the cash flowing, the jobs coming, and provided constant work for our employees.

If you have a store front, think beyond the obvious reason customers are coming in.

A gift shop sells gifts. A customer is coming in to find a gift (dah). Most likely, they will take the gift home, wrap it, and attach a card.

Add cards, wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, scissors and tape to your gift shop inventory. Consider offering a wrapping service for a small fee. Offer free wrapping with a purchase over $xx.xx. Expand this service to include wrapping items not purchased in your store, charging more, of course. The holidays could bring in tons of business. The key is to have beautiful paper, ribbons and bows. Make a statement, so others will ask “Where did you get that from?”

Take a Starbucks store for example. When you think Starbucks, you think coffee. But if you go into one of their stores, they offer bakery items, cups, prepackaged coffee, thermos bottles, candy, gift packs, and special blends (beans or ground).

A store front IT business could sell a small assortment of office supplies, or if you have a favorite brand of printer, consider becoming a dealer/distributor. Expand your services by offering the installation of upgrades. Set up an account files to notify customers when a new product is introduced to the market. Become a “computer doctor” who does house calls – not just for businesses, but for individuals as well.

A plumbing repair service could offer a small selection of faucets, shower heads, and hoses. Catherine, who works from home, could have an online store to which she could refer her customers. Also, when her employees go out on a service call, they could stock a few classic pieces in their vans, and offer to install a new one, if the old one is beyond repair. This could eliminate return service calls, saving time and money.

By analyzing your current business, there are many ways to add on sales, and/or to offer additional services.

We need to think like a customer. Make your business a “one stop shop”.

Most people are pressed for time.

Be prepared to give them what they need, even before they know they need it.

Use your radar.

Do you have a business you are trying to diversify?

Need help?

Leave a comment and let’s brainstorm.

You can read more great articles by Barbara at Blogging Without A Blog .

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